All Things In Good Time

© Joan Ann Lansberry

Darkening Shadows

The festivities of the holidays proved to be their happiest time, ever. But now, after the holidays, as the days grew longer, shadows played in the corners of Michael's mind. While the ladies were at work, and Goldie at school, Michael allowed himself to think about what was worrying him. It first began as darkening shadows over Goldie's countenance. The beautiful face revealed a spirit growing more troubled every day.

Goldie was not dealing well with the demands of school. He was not made of the stern stuff the women were. They steeled themselved to what they had to do. They forced their environment to do their bidding. They ignored any and all of the daily inconveniences to accomplish their ends of providing money for the family.

Bit by bit, it was becoming clear he could not demand this of Goldie. He began having nightmares. He would twitch in his sleep and awake not freshened from the sleep, but haunted. An intimation of just how bad it was came when he asked Michael a question, ''What would happen were I to slit my wrists and let the blood drain out of me? Would this kill me as it would a human?''

Michael hadn't known how to answer him. If Goldie hadn't already known, he wasn't about to explain the things truly fatal to a vampire. ''What made you ask this?'' Michael demanded. The shadow on Goldie's face, he replied, ''I've been having those old nightmares again. The ones in which I sit in a bathtub, tub full of blood, before the last bit of consciousness . . .''

Alarmed, Michael turned to face Golden and asked him, ''Have you ever attempted such a thing?'' Golden cried, and said in the softest of voices, ''No. I've only just dreamed of it. Mostly, I just cry a lot.'' Michael remembered Golden's mother's concerns for him, she'd spoken of his 'rough years'. Michael went to him and held him as he cried.

Later, he broke his hesitency to use the mechanical far speaking devices and called Goldie's mother. Yes, Golden had had a terrible time since puberty. Yes, he had cried nightly. Yes, she hoped Michael could help him. He assured her he would do all in his power to protect him and keep him safe.

When Goldie returned from school that evening, his countenance was even more clouded over. ''Tell me about it, Goldie,'' Michael begged. ''I can't bear it. I just can't bear it. Their stares. They stare much worse than they ever did. I can't bear it,'' And he broke down in Michael's arms, just sobbing. It was agreed, something had to be done. Would he feel better if Michael attended his classes with him and sat beside him? Golden didn't know. They hated to waste the money they'd invested on that semester's classes. Gwen suggested it might be still time for him to withdraw and get the money back.

Golden's face lightened somewhat at the thought of not having to return. Perhaps later, he would enure, become stronger and more resistant. He felt bad. ''It's not that I'm lazy. I would do anything and everything, but not under their staring eyes. I can't do it. I'm sorry!'' And with that, he returned to sobbing. Michael stroked him gently, as he sobbed for hours.

As he stroked Golden's back, his mind was at work. He had the beginnings of a plan initialized. The rabbit farm was just the start. Haunting words from a book he'd read not so long ago, twenty five years ago had only been a tenth of his life, came to him. Louis had told Claudia, ''I will not make her one of us, I will not damn the legions of mortals who'll die at her hands if I do!'' The life of feeding off of evildoers was dreadful. It was difficult and his conscience often nagged him, especially since so many were now needed to sustain his family. Michael hoped to have a farm large enough with animals that could be milked as he had milked the animals on his parent's farm so very long ago.

It would be ambitious. Four bloodsuckers need a lot of blood. It would take a great many animals that could be milked on intervals. Still, it would be possible. And the labor involved would be something Golden could do. He would be far away from the prying eyes of humans. Michael could assist and instruct him in all that was necessary. It would be good to bring old knowledge to use again.

go to Chapter Twenty-Three, The Plan
return to Chapter Outline