Merrick (The Vampire Chronicles #7)

Chapter 13

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12

AARON GREETED ME at the door.

"Merrick's at her house in New Orleans. The caretaker says she's been drinking. She will not talk to him. I've called every hour since morning. The phone simply rings and rings."

"Why didn't you tell me this was happening?" I demanded. I was deeply concerned.

"Why? So you'd worry about it all the way across the Atlantic? I knew you were coming. I know you're the only one who can reason with her when she's in this state."

"Whatever in the world makes you think so?" I argued. But it was true. Sometimes I could talk Merrick into ending her binges. But not always.

Whatever the case, I bathed, changed clothes, as the early winter weather was unseasonably warm, and set out in a drowsy evening shower, with the car and driver, for Merrick's house.

It was dark when I got there, but even so, I could see that the neighborhood had deteriorated beyond my wildest speculation. It seemed as if a war had been lost in the district, and the survivors had no choice but to live among hopeless wooden ruins tumbling down into the eternal giant weeds. Here and there was a wellkept shotgun house with a bright coat of paint and some gingerbread trim beneath its roof. But dim lights shone through heavily barred windows. Abandoned cottages were being dismantled by the rampant greenery. The area was derelict and obviously dangerous as well.

It seemed to me that I could sense people prowling about in the darkness. I detested the feeling of fear which had been so uncommon in me in my youth. Old age had taught me to respect danger. As I said, I hated it. I remember hating the thought that I wouldn't ever be able to accompany Merrick on this insane journey to the Central American jungles, and I'd be humiliated as the result.

At last the car stopped at Merrick's house.

The lovely old raised cottage, painted a fresh shade of tropical pink with white trim, appeared rather wonderful behind the high iron picket fence. The new brick walls were thick and very high as they embraced the property on either side. A bank of densely flowering oleander behind the iron pickets shielded the house somewhat from the squalor of the street.

I As the caretaker greeted me, and brought me up the front steps, I saw that Merrick's long windows were well barred also, in spite of their white lace curtains and shades, and that lights were on throughout the house.

The porch was clean; the old square pillars were solid; the leaded glass sparkled within the twin windows of the polished double doors. A wave of remembrance passed over me, nevertheless.

"She won't answer the bell, Sir," said the caretaker, a man I scarcely noticed in my haste. "But the door's unlocked for you. I took her some supper at five o'clock."

"She asked for her supper?" I inquired.

"No, Sir, she never said anything. But she ate the food. I picked up the dishes at six."

I opened the door and found myself in the comfortable aircooled front hall. I saw at once that the old parlor and dining room to my right had been splendidly refurnished with rather bright Chinese carpets. A modem sheen covered the old furniture. The old mirrors above the white marble mantels were as dark as they had ever been.

To my left lay the front bedroom; Great Nananne's bed was dressed with an ivory white canopy and a counterpane of heavy crocheted lace.

In a polished wooden rocking chair before the bed, facing the front windows, sat Merrick, a wobbling light easily illuminating her thoughtful face.

There was a bottle of Flor de Ca?a rum on the little candlestand table beside her.

She lifted the glass to her lips, drank from it, and then sat back, continuing to stare off as if she didn't know that I was there.

I stopped at the threshold.

"Darling," I said, "aren't you going to offer me a drink?"

Without so much as turning her head, she smiled.

"You never liked straight rum, David," she said softly. "You're a Scotch man like my old stepfather, Matthew. It's in the dining room. How about some Highland Macallan? Twentyfive years old. That good enough for my beloved Superior General?"

"I should say so, gracious lady," 1 replied. "But never mind that just now. May I step into your boudoir?"

She uttered a small pretty laugh. "Sure, David," she said, "come on in."

I was startled as soon as I looked to my left. A large marble altar had been erected between the two front windows, and I saw there the old multitude of sizable plaster saints. The Virgin Mary wore her crown and the vestments of Mount Carmel, holding the radiant Baby Jesus beneath her innocent smile.

Some elements had been added. I realized they were the Three Magi of Christian scripture and lore. The altar was no Christmas cr¨¨che, you understand. The Magi or Wise Men had merely been included in a large panoply of sacred figures, more or less on their own terms.

I spied several of the mysterious jade idols among the saints, including one very mean little idol which held its scepter quite ready for duty or attack.

Two other rather vicious little characters flanked the large statue of St. Peter. And there before them lay the green jade hummingbird perforator, or knife, one of the most beautiful artifacts in Merrick's large cache.

The gorgeous axe of obsidian which I had seen years ago was given a place of prominence between the Virgin Mary and the Arc Angel Michael. It had a lovely luster in the dim light.

But perhaps the most surprising contents of the altar were the daguerreotypes and old photographs of Merrick's people, ranged thickly as any display upon a parlor piano, the multitude of faces lost in the gloom.

A double row of candles burned before the entire array, and there were fresh flowers aplenty, in numerous vases. Everything appeared dusted and quite clean. That is, until I realized that the shriveled hand had its place among the offerings. It stood out against the white marble, curled and hideous, very much as it had seemed when I first saw it long ago.

"For old times' sake?" I asked, gesturing to the altar.

"Don't be absurd," she said under her breath. She lifted a cigarette to her lips. I saw by the box on the little table that it was Rothmans, Matthew's old brand. My old brand as well. I knew her to be a smoker now and then, rather like I was myself.

Nevertheless, I found myself looking hard at her. Was she really my beloved Merrick? My skin had begun to crawl, as they say, a feeling I detest.

"Merrick?" I asked.

When she looked up at me, I knew it was she and no one else inside her handsome young body, and I knew that she wasn't very drunk at all.

"Sit down, David, my dear," she said sincerely, almost sadly. "The armchair's comfortable. I'm really glad you came."

I was much relieved by the familiarity of her tone. I crossed the room, in front of her, and settled in the armchair from which I could easily see her face. The altar loomed over my right shoulder, with all those tiny photographic faces staring at me, as they had long ago. I found that I did not like it, did not like the many indifferent saints and the subdued Wise Men, though I had to admit that the spectacle was dazzling to my eyes.

"Why must we go off to these jungles, Merrick?" I asked. "Whatever made you decide to drop everything for such an idea?"

She didn't answer immediately. She took a drink of rum from her glass, her eyes focused on the altar.

This gave me time to note that a huge portrait of Oncle Vervain hung on the far wall beside the door through which I'd entered the room.

I knew it at once to be an expensive enlargement of the likeness Merrick had revealed to us years ago. The processing had been true to the sepia tones of the portrait, and Oncle Vervain, a young man in his prime, resting his elbow comfortably on the Greek column, appeared to be staring directly at me with bold brilliant light eyes.

Even in the shuddering gloom, I could see his handsome broad nose and beautifully shaped full lips. As for the light eyes, they gave the face a certain frightening aspect, though I wasn't certain whether or not I ought to have felt such a thing.

"I see you came to continue the argument," Merrick said. "There can be no argument for me, David. I have to go and now."

"You haven't convinced me. You know very well I won't let you journey into that part of the world without the support of the Talamasca, but I want to understand¡ª."

"Oncle Vervain is not going to leave me alone," she said quietly, her eyes large and vivid, her face somewhat dark against the low light of the distant hall. "It's the dreams, David. Truth is, I've had them for years, but never the way they come now. Maybe I didn't want to pay attention. Maybe I played, even in the dreams themselves, as if I didn't understand."

It seemed to me that she was three times as fetching as I had remembered. Her simple dress of violet cotton was belted tightly at the waist, and the hem barely covered her knees. Her legs were lean and exquisitely shaped. Her feet, the toenails painted a bright shiny violet to match the dress, were bare.

"When precisely did the onslaught of dreams begin?"

"Spring," she replied a little wearily. "Oh, right after Christmas. I'm not even sure. Winter was bad here. Maybe Aaron told you. We had a hard freeze. All the beautiful banana trees died. Of course they came right back up as soon as the spring warmth arrived. Did you see them outside?"

"I didn't notice, darling. Forgive me," I replied.

She resumed as if I hadn't answered.

"And that's when he came to me the most clearly," she said. "There was no past or future in the dream, then, only Oncle Vervain and me. We were in this house together, he and I, and he was sitting at the dining room table¡ª." She gestured to the open door and the spaces beyond it, "¡ªand I was with him. And he said to me, 'Girl, didn't I tell you to go back there and get those things?' He went into a long story. It was about spirits, awful spirits that had knocked him down a slope so that he cut his head. I woke up in the night and wrote down everything I remembered, but some of it was lost and maybe that was meant to be."

"Tell me what else you remember now."

"He said it was his mother's greatgrandfather who knew of that cave," she responded. "He said that the old man took him there, though he himself was scared of the jungle. Do you know how many years back that would be? He said he never got to go back there. He came to New Orleans and got rich off Voodoo, rich as anybody can get off Voodoo. He said you give up your dreams the longer you live, until you've got nothing."

I think I winced at those choice and truthful words.

"I was seven years old," she said, "when Oncle Vervain died under this roof His mother's greatgrandfather was a brujo  among the Maya. You know, that's a witch doctor, a priest of sorts. I can still remember Oncle Vervain using that word."

"Why does he want you to go back?" I asked her.

She had not removed her eyes from the altar. I glanced in that direction and realized that a picture of Oncle Vervain was there too. It was small, frameless, merely propped at the Virgin's feet.

"To get the treasure," she said in her low, troubled voice. "To bring it here. He says there's something there that will change my destiny. But I don't know what he means." She gave one of those characteristic sighs of hers. "He seems to think I'll need it, this object, this thing. But what do spirits know?"

"What do they know, Merrick?" I asked.

"I can't tell you, David," she replied raggedly. "I can only tell you that he haunts me. He wants me to go there and bring back those things."

"You don't want to do this," I said. "I can tell by your entire manner. You're being haunted."

"It's a strong ghost, David," she said, her eyes moving over the distant statues. "They're strong dreams." She shook her head. "They're so full of his presence. God, how I miss him." She let her eyes drift. "You know," she said, "when he was very old, his legs were bad. The priest came; he said Oncle Vervain didn't have to go to Sunday Mass anymore. It was too hard. Yet every Sunday, Oncle Vervain got dressed in his best threepiece suit, and always with his pocket watch, you know, the little gold chain in front and the watch in the little pocket¡ªand he sat in the dining room over there listening to the broadcast of Mass on the radio and whispering his prayers. He was such a gentleman. And the priest would come and bring him Holy Communion in the afternoon.

"No matter how bad his legs were, Oncle Vervain knelt down for Holy Communion. I stood in the front door until the priest was gone and the altar boy. Oncle Vervain said that our church was a magic church because Christ's Body and Blood was in Holy Communion. Oncle Vervain said I was baptized: Merrick Marie Louise Mayfair¡ªconsecrated to the Blessed Mother. They spelled it the French way, you know: Merrique. I know I was baptized. I know."

She paused. I couldn't bear the suffering in her voice or in her expression. If only we had located that baptismal certificate, I thought desperately, we might have prevented this obsession.

"No, David," she said aloud, sharply correcting me. "I dream of him, I tell you. I see him holding that gold watch." She settled back into her reverie, though it gave her no consolation. "How I loved that watch, that gold watch. I was the one who wanted it, but he left it to Cold Sandra. I used to beg him to let me look at it, to let me turn its hands to correct it, to let me snap it open, but no, he said, 'Merrick, it doesn't tick for you, ch¨¦rie, it ticks for others.' And Cold Sandra got it. Cold Sandra took it with her when she left."

"Merrick, these are family ghosts. Don't we all have family ghosts?"

"Yes, David, but it's my family, and my family was never very much like anyone else's family, was it, David? He comes in the dreams and tells me about the cave."

"I can't bear to see you hurt, my darling," I said. "In London, behind my desk, I isolate myself emotionally from the Members all over the world. But from you? Never."

She nodded. "I don't want to cause you pain, either, boss," she said, "but I need you."

"You won't give up on this, will you?" I replied as tenderly as I could.

She said nothing. Then:

"We have a problem, David," she said, her eyes fixed on the altar, perhaps deliberately avoiding me.

"And what is that, darling?" I asked.

"We don't know exactly where to go."

"I'm hardly surprised," I responded, trying to remember what I could of Matthew's vague letters. I tried not to sound cross or pompous. "All Matthew's letters were mailed from Mexico City in a batch as I understand it, when you were making your way home."

She nodded.

"But what of the map that Oncle Vervain gave you? I know it has no names, but when you touched it, what happened?"

"Nothing happened when I touched it," she said. She smiled bitterly. She was silent for a long time. Then she gestured to the altar.

It was then that I saw the small rolled parchment, tied in black ribbon, sitting beside the small picture of Oncle Vervain.

"Matthew had help getting there," she said in a strange, almost hollow voice. "He didn't figure it out from that map, or on his own in any fashion."

"You're referring to sorcery," I said.

"You sound like a Grand Inquisitor," she replied, her eyes still very distant from me, her face devoid of feeling, her tone flat. "He had Cold Sandra to help him. Cold Sandra knew things from Oncle Vervain that I don't know. Cold Sandra knew the whole lay of the land. So did Honey in the Sunshine. She was six years older than me."

She paused. She was obviously deeply troubled. I don't think I had ever seen her so troubled in all her adult years.

"Oncle Vervain's mother's people had the secrets," she said. "I see so many faces in my dreams." She shook her head as if trying to clear her mind. On her voice went in a near whisper. "Oncle Vervain used to talk to Cold Sandra all the time. If he hadn't died when he did, maybe Cold Sandra would have been better, but then he was so old, it was his time."

"And in the dreams, Oncle Vervain doesn't tell you where the cave is located?"

"He tries," she answered sadly. "I see images, fragments. I see the Maya brujo, the priest, going up to a rock by the waterfall. I see a big stone carved with facial features. I see incense and candles, feathers from the wild birds, beautifully colored feathers and offerings of food."

"I understand," I responded.

She rocked a little in the chair, her eyes moving slowly from side to side. Then she took another drink of the rum in her glass. "Of course I remember things from the journey," she said in a slow voice.

"You were only ten years old," I said sympathetically. "And you mustn't think that because of these dreams you should go back now."

She ignored me. She drank her rum and she stared at the altar.

"There are so many ruins, so many highland basins," she said. "So many waterfalls, so many cloud forests. I need one more piece of information. Two pieces, really. The city to which we flew from Mexico City, and the name of the village where we camped. We took two planes to reach that city. I can't remember those names, if I ever knew them. I don't think I was paying attention. I was playing in the jungles. I was off by myself. I scarcely knew why we were there."

"Darling, listen to me¡ª," I started.

"Don't. Forget it. I have to go back," she said sharply.

"Well, I assume you've combed all your books on the jungle terrain. You've made lists of towns and villages?" I broke off. I had to remember I didn't want this dangerous trip to take place.

She didn't immediately respond to me, and then she stared at me very deliberately and her eyes appeared uncommonly hard and cold. The candlelight and the light of the lamps made them gorgeously green. I noticed that her fingernails were painted the same shade of shiny violet as her toes. Once again she seemed the incarnation of all I'd ever desired.

"Of course I've done that," she said to me gently. "But now I have to find the name of that village, the last real outpost, and the name of the city to which we flew on the plane. If I had that, I could go." She sighed. "Especially that village with the brujo, that's been there for centuries, inaccessible and waiting for us¡ªif I had that, I'd know the way."

"How, precisely?" I asked her.

"Honey knows it," she answered. "Honey in the Sunshine was sixteen when we made that journey. Honey will remember. Honey will tell it to me."

"Merrick, you can't try to call up Honey!" I said. "You know that's far too dangerous, that's utterly reckless, you can't…¡±

"David, you're here."

"I can't protect you if you call up this spirit, good God."

"But you must protect me. You must protect me because Honey will be as dreadful as she ever was. She'll try to destroy me when she comes through."

"Then don't do it."

"I have to do it. I have to do it and I have to go back to that cave. I promised Matthew Kemp when be was dying I'd report those discoveries. He didn't know he was talking to me. He thought he was talking to Cold Sandra, or maybe even Honey, or maybe his mother, I couldn't tell. But I promised. I promised I would tell the world about that cave."

"The world does not care about one more Olmec ruin!" I said. "There are universities aplenty working all through the rain forests and jungles. There're ancient cities all over Central America! What does it matter now?"

"I promised Oncle Vervain," she said earnestly. "I promised him I'd get all the treasure. I promised I'd bring it back. 'When you grow up,' he said to me, and I promised."

"Sounds to me as if Cold Sandra promised," I said sharply. "And perhaps Honey in the Sunshine promised. You were what, seven years old when the old man died?"

"I have to do it," she said solemnly.

"Listen," I insisted, "we're going to stop this entire plan. It's too dangerous politically to go to those Central American jungles anyway," I declared. "I won't approve the trip. I'm the Superior General. You can't go over my head."

"I don't intend to," she said, her tone softening. "I need you with me. I need you now."

She stopped, and, leaning to one side, crushed out her cigarette, and refilled her glass from the bottle. She took a deep drink and settled back again in the chair.

"I have to call Honey," she whispered.

"Why not call Cold Sandra!" I demanded desperately.

"You don't understand," she said. "I've kept it locked in my soul all these years, but I have to call Honey. And Honey's near me. Honey's always near me! I've felt her near me. I've fended her off with my power. I've used my charms and my strength to protect myself. But she never really goes away." She took a deep drink of the rum. "David," she said, "Oncle Vervain loved Honey in the Sunshine. Honey's in these dreams too."

"I think it's your gruesome imagination!" I declared.

She gave a high sparkling laugh at this, fall of true amusement. It startled me. "Listen to you, David, next you'll tell me there are no ghosts or vampires. And that the Talamasca is just a legend, such an Order doesn't exist."

"Why do you have to call Honey?"

She shook her head. She rested back in the chair, and her eyes filled with visible tears. I could see them in the flicker of the candles. I was becoming genuinely frantic.

I stood up, marched into the dining room, found the bottle of twentyfiveyearold Macallan Scotch and the lead crystal glasses on the sideboard, and poured myself a good drink. I returned to her. Then I went back and got the bottle. I brought it with me, settled in the chair, and put it on the nightstand to my left.

The Scotch tasted wonderful. I didn't drink on the plane at all, wanting to be alert for my reunion, and it took the edge off my nerves beautifully.

She was still crying.

"All right, you're going to call up Honey, and you think for some reason Honey knows the name of the town or the village."

"Honey liked those places," she said, unperturbed by my urgent voice. "Honey liked the name of the village from which we hiked to the cave." She turned to me. "Don't you see, these names are like jewels embedded in her conscious; she's there with all she ever knew! She doesn't have to remember like a living being. The knowledge is in her and I have to make her give it to me."

"All right, I see, I understand everything. I maintain that it's too dangerous, and besides, why hasn't the spirit of Honey gone on?"

"She can't until I tell her what she wants to know."

This baffled me completely. What could Honey want to know?

Suddenly Merrick rose from the chair, rather like a slumbering cat instantly propelled into predatory action, and she closed the door to the hall. I heard her turn the key.

I was on my feet. But I stood back, uncertain of what she meant to do. Certainly she wasn't drunk enough to be interfered with in any dramatic authoritarian fashion, and I wasn't surprised when she abandoned her glass for the bottle of rum and took it with her into the center of the room.

Only then did I realize there was no carpet. Her naked feet were soundless on the polished floor, and, with the bottle clutched in her right hand to her breast, she began to turn in a circle, humming and throwing back her head.

I pressed myself against the wall.

Round and round she spun, the violet cotton skirt flaring and the bottle sloshing rum into the air. She paid no attention to the spilt liquor, and, slowing her turns only for a moment, she took another deep drink and then turned so fast that her garments slapped against her legs.

Stopping dead as she faced the altar, she spit the rum between her teeth into a fine spray at the waiting saints.

A highpitched wail came out of her clenched teeth as she continued to issue the rum from her mouth.

Once again she began to dance, almost deliberately slapping her feet and murmuring. I couldn't catch the language or the words. Her hair was tangled over her face. Again a swallow, again the rum flying, the candles sputtering and dancing as they caught the tiny droplets and ignited them.

Suddenly she hurled a stream of rum from the bottle all over the candles, and the flames went up before the saints in a dangerous flare. Mercifully the fire went out.

Head back, she screamed between her teeth in French:

"Honey, I did it! Honey, I did it. Honey, I did it!"

The room seemed to shake as she bent her knees and circled, pounding her feet in a loud dance.

"Honey, I put the curse on you and Cold Sandra!" she screamed. "Honey, I did it."

Suddenly she lunged at the altar, never letting go of her bottle, and, grabbing the green jade perforator in her left hand, she slashed a long cut into her right arm.

I gasped. What could I do to stop her, I thought, what could I do that wouldn't enrage her?

The blood streamed down her arm and she bowed her head, licked at it, drank the rum, and sprayed the offering on the patient saints once again.

I could see the blood flowing down her hand, over her knuckles. Her wound was superficial but the amount of blood was awful.

Again she lifted the knife.

"Honey, I did it to you and Cold Sandra. I killed you, I put the curse on you!" she screamed.

I resolved to grab hold of her as she went to cut herself again. But I couldn't move.

As God is my witness, I couldn't move. I was rooted to the spot. I tried with all my resources to overcome the paralysis, but it was useless. All I could do was cry to her,

"Stop it, Merrick!"

She slashed at her arm across the first cut, and again the blood flowed.

"Honey, come to me, Honey, give me your rage, give me your hatred, Honey, I killed you, Honey, I made the dolls of you and Cold Sandra, Honey, I drowned them in the ditch the night you left. Honey, I killed you. Honey, I sent you to the swamp water, Honey, I did it," she was screaming.

"For the love of Heaven, Merrick, let go!" I cried. Then suddenly, unable to watch her slash her arm again, I began to pray frantically to Oxal¨¢:

"Give me the power to stop her, give me the power to divert her before she harms herself, give me the power, I beg you, Oxal¨¢, I'm your loyal David, give me the power." I shut my eyes. The floor was trembling beneath me.

Suddenly the noise of her screams and her bare feet stopped.

I felt her against me. I opened my eyes. She stood in my embrace, both of us facing the doorway, which was indisputably open, and the shadowy figure who stood with her back to the light of the hall.

It was a graceful young girl with long tightly curling blond hair lathered all over her shoulders, her face veiled in shadow, her yellow eyes piercing in the candle glow.

"I did it!" Merrick whispered. "I killed you."

I felt Merrick's whole pliant body against me. I wrapped my arms tightly around her. Again, but silently, I prayed to Oxal¨¢.

Protect us from this spirit if evil is the intent of this Spirit. Oxal¨¢, you who made the world, you who rule in high places, you who are among the clouds, protect us, do not look at my faults as I call on you, but give me your mercy, protect us if this spirit would do us harm.

Merrick wasn't trembling, she was quaking, her body covered in sweat, as it had been during the possession so many years before.

"I put the dolls in the ditch, I drowned them in the ditch, I did it. I drowned them. I did it. I prayed, 'Let them die!' I knew from Cold Sandra that she was going to buy that car, I said, 'Let it go off a bridge, let them drown.' I said, 'When they drive across the lake, let them die.' Cold Sandra was so afraid of that lake, I said, 'Let them die.' "

The figure in the doorway appeared as solid as anything I'd ever beheld. The shadowy face showed no expression, but the yellow eyes remained fixed.

Then a voice issued from it, low, and full of hatred.

"Fool, you never caused it!" said the voice. "Fool, you think you caused that to happen to us? You never caused anything. Fool, you couldn't make a curse to save your soul!"

I thought Merrick would lose consciousness, but somehow she remained standing, though my arms were ready to hold her should she fail.

She nodded. "Forgive me that I wanted it," she said in a hoarse whisper that seemed entirely her own. "Forgive me, Honey, that I wanted it. I wanted to go with you, forgive me."

"Go to God to get your forgiveness," came the low voice from the darkened countenance. "Don't come to me."

Again Merrick nodded. I could feel the stickiness of her spilt blood coming down over my right fingers. Again I prayed to Oxal¨¢! But my words were coming automatically. I was riveted heart and soul to the being in the doorway, who neither moved nor dissolved.

"Get down on your knees," said the voice. "Write in blood what I tell you."

"Don't do it!" I whispered.

Merrick sprang forward, falling on her knees on the floor that was wet and slippery with blood and spilt rum.

Once again, I tried to move, but I couldn't. It was as if my feet had been nailed to the boards.

Merrick's back was to me, but I knew she was pressing her left fingers to the wounds to make them bleed ever more deeply, and then I heard the creature in the doorway give two names.

I heard the first distinctly, "Guatemala City, there's where you land," said the spirit, "and Santa Cruz del Flores is as close as you can get to the cave."

Merrick sat back on her heels, her body heaving, her breaths coming rapid and hoarse as she squeezed the blood onto the floor and began to write with her right first finger the names now repeated from her own lips.

On and on I prayed for strength against the figure, but I cannot claim that it was my prayers which made the being begin to fade.

A horrid scream broke from Merrick:

"Honey, don't leave me!" she cried. "Honey, don't go. Honey, come back, please, please, come back," she sobbed. "Honey in the Sunshine, I love you. Don't leave me here alone."

But the spirit was gone.

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