Sunday, March 3, 2019
Night World : Secret Vampire Chapter 3
in all Poppy could think of was the pretty bald girl inthe gift shop.Cancer. only if-but they tail assembly do nearthing roughly(predicate) it, cantthey? she said, and tear down to her own ears her voice sounded very young. I mean-if they had to, theycould tamp down my pancreasout.Oh, sweetheart, of course. Poppys female parent as wellk Poppy in her arms. I promise you if thithers some thing wrongly, well do any(prenominal)thing and everything to fix it. Id go to the ends of the earth to make you well. You knowthat. And at this point we arent even sure that there issomething wrong. Dr. Franklin said that its extremely rare for teenagers to get a tumor in the pancreas. Extremely rare. So lets not worry close to things until we fall in to.Poppy mat herself relax the pit was c overed again. tho someplace near her core she still felt cold.I haveto call pack.Her mother nodded. righteous make it quick.Poppy kept her fingers crossed as she dialed crowd togethers a dowryme nt. Please be there, please be there, she thought. And for once, he was. He answered laconically, but as in brief as he heard her voice, he said, Whats wrong? nonhing-well, everything. Maybe. Poppy heardherself give a wild sort of laugh. It wasnt exactly alaugh.What happened? crowd together said sharply. Did youhave a contract with Cliff?No. Cliffs at the office. And Im going into theinfirmary.Why?They think I might have cancer.It was a tremendous relief to hypothecate it, a sort of emotional release. Poppy laughed again. Silence on the other end of the line. Hello?Im here, mob said. Then he said, Im coming over.No, theres no point. Ive got to leave in a minute. She waited for him to say that hed come and see her in the hospital, but he didnt.James, would you do something for me? Wouldyou find out whatever you can about cancer in the pancreas? in force(p) in case.Is that what they think you have?They dont know for sure. Theyre giving me some tests. I adept hope they dont have to use any needles.another(prenominal) laugh, but inside she was reeling.She wished James would say something comforting.Ill see what I can find on the Net. His voice was unemotional, almost expression slight.And and and then you can spot me later-theyll probablylet you call me at the hospital.Yeah.Okay, I have to go. My moms waitinTake care of yourself.Poppy hung up, touching empty. Her mother wasstanding in the doorstep bearing.Come on, Poppet. Lets go. James sat very still, flavor at the ph unmatched withoutseeing it.She was scared, and he couldnt help her. Hednever been very good at inspirational small talk. It wasnt, he thought grimly, in his nature.To give comfort you had to have a comfortableview of the world. And James had seen too much of the world to have any illusions.He could deal with cold facts, though. Pushingaside a pile of consort clutter, he turned on his lap top and dialed up the Internet. inwardly transactions he was using Gopher to search theNational C ancer Institutes CancerNet. The fresh domain file he order was listed as Pancreatic cancer-Patient.He scanned it. glut about what the pancreas did,stages of thedisease, treatments.Nothingtoo gruesome.Thenhewentinto PancreaticcancerPhysiciana file meant for doctors. The first lineheld him paralyzed. Cancer of the exocrine pancreas is rarely curable.His eyes skimmed down the lines. Overall survival rate metastasis light response to chemotherapy, ra diation therapy and surgery wound Pain. Poppy was brave, but facing immutable painwould crush anyone. Especially when the outlook for the future was so bleak.He looked at the top of the article again. Overallsurvival rate less than three percent. If the cancer had cattle farm, less than one percent.There must be more information. James wentsearching again and came up with several articles from newspapers and medical journals. They wereeven worse than the NCI file.The overwhelming majority of patients get out die, and dieswiftly, experts say. Pancreatic cancer is usually inoperable, rapid, and debilitatingly painful. The averagesurvival if the cancer has spread can be three weeks tothree months.Three weeks to three months.James stared at the laptops screen. His chest andthroat felt tight his vision was blurry. He tried to sway it, telling himself that nothing was certain yet. Poppy was being tested, that didnt mean she had cancer.But the manner of speaking rang hollow in his mind. He had known for some time that something was wrong with Poppy. Something was-disturbed-inside her.Hed sensed that the rhythms of her body wereslightly off he could tell she was losing sleep. Andthe pain-he always knew when the pain was there.He just hadnt realized how serious it was.Poppy knows, too, he thought. Deep down, she knows that something very regretful is going on, or she wouldnt have asked me to find this out. But whatdoes she expect me to do, notch in and tell her shes going to die in a a couple of(prenominal) mo nths?And am I supposed to stand around and watch it?His lips pulled put up from his teeth slightly. Not a exquisite smile, more of a savage grimace. Hed seen a wad of death in seventeen years. He knew the stages ofdying, knew the difference between the bite breathing stopped and the moment the brain turnedoff knew the unmistakable ghostlike paleness of a freshcorpse.The way the eyeballs flattened out about five minutes after expiration. Now, that was a detail most people werent familiar with. pentad minutes after you die, your eyes go flat and filmy gray. And then your body starts to shrink. You actually get smaller.Poppy was so small already.Hed always been shitless of hurting her. She lookedso fragile, and he could hurt somebody much stronger if he wasnt careful. That was one reason hekept a certain distance between them.One reason. Not the main one.The other was something he couldnt put into haggle, not even to himself. It brought him properly up to the edge of the forbidde n. To face rules that had been ingrained in him since birth.None of the wickedness People could fall in love with ahuman. The sentence for breaking the faithfulness was death. It didnt matter. He knew what he hadto do now.Where he had to go.Cold and precise, James loggedoff the Net. Hestood, picked up his sunglasses, slid them into place. Went out into the merciless June sunlight, slamminghis apartment door behind him.Poppy looked around the hospital room unhappily.There was nothing so awful about it, except that it was too cold, but it was a hospital. That was thetruth behind thepretty pink-and-blue curtains and the dosed-circuit TV and the dinner menu decoratedwith draw characters. It was a place you didnt come unless you were Pretty Darn Sick.Oh, come on, she told herself. Cheerup a gnomish.What happened to the power of Poppytive thinking? Wheres Poppyanna when you need her? WheresMary Poppy-ins?God, Im even making myself gag, she thought.But she found herselfsmilingfaintly, w ith selfdeprecating humor if nothing else. And the nurses were nice here, and the bed wasextremely cool.Ithad a remote mark on theside that bent it intoevery imaginable position. Her mother came in while shewas playacting with it.I got hold of Cliff hell be herelater. Meanwhile,I think youd better intensify so youre ready for the tests.Poppy looked at the blue-and-white striped seersucker hospital robe and felt a painful spasm that seemed to reach from her stomach to her tail end. And something in the deepest part of her said Please, not yet. Ill never be ready.James pulled his Integra into a park space on Ferry Street near Stoneham. It wasnt a nice part of town. Tourists visiting Los Angeles avoided this area.The structure was sagging and decrepit. Severalstores were vacant, with cardboard taped over broken windows. Graffiti covered the peeling paint on thecinder-block walls. fifty-fifty the smog seemed to hang thicker here. Theair itself seemed yellow and cloying. Like a pois onous miasma, it darken the brightest day and made everything look unreal and ominous.James walked around to the back of the building.There, among the freight entrances of the stores in front, was one door unmarked by graffiti. The signabove it had no words. Just a picture of a blackflower.A black iris.James knocked. The door opened two inches, anda skinny kid in a wrinkled T-shirt peered out with beady eyes.Its me, Ulf, James said, resisting the temptationto kick the door in. Werewolves, he thought. Why do they have to be so territorial reserve? adult male. I dont want to break any laws. I just wanther well.The nonreversible blue eyes were searching his face. aryou sure you havent broken the laws already? And when James looked determined not to understand this, she added in a lowered voice, Are you sure youre not in love with her?James made himself live up to the probing gaze directly. He spoke softly and dangerously. Dont say that unless you want a fight.Gisele looked away. Sh e played with her ring. Thecandle flame dwindled and died.James, Ive known you for a long time, she saidwithout flavor up. I dont want to get you in trouble. I believe you when you say you havent brokenany lawsbut I think wed both better forget this conversation. Just walk out now and Ill pretend itnever happened.And the spell?Theres no such thing. And if there was, Iwouldnt help you. Just go.James went.There was one other adventure that he couldthink of. He drove to Brentwood, to an area thatwas as different from the uttermost as a diamond is fromcoal. He parked in a covered carport by a quaint adobe building with a fountain. Red and purplebougainvillaea climbed up the walls to the Spanishtile on the roof.Walking through an archway into a courtyard, hecame to an office with gold letters on the door. Jasper R. Rasmussen, Ph.D. His beat was a psychologist.Before he could reach for the handle, the dooropened and a woman came out. She was like mostof his fathers clients, forty-so mething, plain rich, wearing a designer jogging eccentric and high-heeled sandals. She looked a little dazed and dreamy, and therewere two small, rapidly healing puncture wounds on her neck.James went into the office. There was a waitingroom, but no receptionist. Strains of Mozart came from the inner office. James knocked on the door.Dad?The door opened to reveal a handsome man withdark hair. He was wearing a perfectly tailored gray suit and a shirt with French cuffs. He had an aura of power and purpose.But not of warmth. He said, What is it, James? in the same voice he used for his clients thoughtful, deliberate, confident.Do you have a minute?His father glanced at his Rolex. As a matter offact, my next patient wont be here for half an hour.Theres something I need to talk about.His father looked at him keenly, then gestured to an overstuffed chair. James eased into it, but found himself pulling forrard to sit on the edge.Whats on your mind?James searched for the right words. Ever ything depended on whether he could make his father under stand. But what were the right words? At last hesettled for bluntness.Its Poppy. Shes been sick for a while, and nowthey think she has cancer.Dr. Rasmussen looked surprisald. Im sorry to hearthat. But there was no sorrow in his voice.And its a bad cancer. Its unbelievably painful andjust about one hundred percent incurable.Thats a pity. again there was nothing but mildsurprise in his fathers voice. And suddenly James knew where that came from. It wasnt surprise thatPoppy was sick it was surprise that James had made a trip just to tell him this.Dad, if shes got this cancer, shes dying. Doesntthat mean anything to you?Dr. Rasmussen steepled his fingers and stared intothe ruddy gloss of his mahoganydesk. He spoke easily and steadily. James, weve been through this before. You know that your mother and I are worried about you getting too dose to Poppy. Too . . . attached to her.James felt a surge of cold rage. Like I got tooatt ached to Miss Emma?His father didnt blink. Something like that.James fought the pictures that wanted to form inhis mind. He couldnt think about Miss Emma now he needed to be detached. That was the only way to convince his father.Dad, what Im trying to say is that Ive knownPoppy just about all my life. Shes serviceable to me.How? Not in the obvious way. Youve never fedon her, have you?James swallowed, odour nauseated. Feed onPoppy? Use her like that? Even the thought of it made him sick.Dad, shes my friend, he said, abandoning anypretense of objectivity. I cant just watch her suffer. I cant. I have to do something about it.His fathers face cleared. I see.James felt dizzy with dazed relief. Youunderstand?James, at times one cant help a certain flavour of . . .compassion for humans. In general, I wouldnt encourage it-but you have known Poppya long while. You relish pity for her suffering. If youwant to make that suffering shorter, then, yes, Iunderstand.The relief crashed down aro und James. He stared at his father for a few seconds, then said softly, mercy killing? I thought the Elders had put a banon deaths in this area.Just be reasonably discreet about it. As long as itseems to be natural, well all look the other way. There wont be any reason to call in the Elders.There was a metallic examine in Jamess mouth. Hestood and laughed shortly. Thanks, Dad. Youve really helped a lot.His father didnt seem to hear the sarcasm. Gladto do it, James. By the way, how are things at the apartments?Fine, James said emptily.And at inculcate?Schools over, Dad, James said, and let himselfout.In the courtyard he leaned against an adobe walland stared at the splashing water of the fountain. He was out of options. Out of hope. The laws ofthe Night World said so.If Poppy had the disease, she would die from it.