– 2013 –
“The world was all before them,
where to choose
Their place of rest, and
Providence their guide;
They, hand in hand, with
wandering steps and slow,
Through Eden took their
—John Milton, Paradise Lost
“MR. SPEAKER! THE HONORABLE LUCIUS BLACKWELL AND HIS CHILDE SILAS BROOKES!”
The applause were absolutely deafening and they seemed to go on forever, even before we got through the door. The aides finished straightening our long-coats and cloth ruffles seconds before we were practically shoved out onto the House floor.
It was important to dress the part, of course. 364 days of the year, my treasured green long-coat, my fine silk vest of the same material and dark knee-britches were all locked in a case displayed in the Smithsonian museum along with my childe’s. They were retrieved once per year for this very occasion – and I figured I wouldn’t have the same sort of…commanding authority than if I was just simply in a suit and tie. They needed a reminder of who I was – and who I had worked for.
Bodies pressed around me on all sides as senators rushed to greet and get a glimpse of my childe and me. I could definitely tell who the newbies were for this election cycle – I always could; mostly because they were the first ones to push their way to the front to shake hands with the two most famous – and secretive – people inside the Beltway. Well, let me correct myself; not people, really. Vampires, to be completely accurate.
This kind of grandeur didn’t really start until after World War I, when tensions were high and the government decided to formally unify together to contain the more rapidly-growing epidemic of ‘murders’ through-out the country. As the country drew a sigh of relief, those comforts were emaciated by the sharp rise of murders and homicides, which left people understandably worried. Those worries were especially extended with the crash of 1929 (Silas and I were in Rome and the time, but rushed back to the States the moment we heard), and the government literally scrambled to grab any leverage they could.
And so I was summoned. Not that I was bitter. Oh, no. I enjoyed my life of pleasure with my childe; we had a good life, and I was still consulted from time to time. All was well, by any account. But I was summoned nonetheless. And here I remain to this day.
But I’m most certainly getting ahead of myself.
My childe kept in step with me, following closely behind, smiling widely and shaking hands with the mortal law-makers quite genially. He always seemed to enjoy this, and I always tease him about being the center of attention. He brushes it off, but smiles wickedly nonetheless.
You’re gonna do fine, babe, his thought whispered, soundless, in my brain. The thought projection that vampires acquire is so subtle, sometimes I think I’m thinking it to myself. But, no, I could tell it was Silas; I guess I was just used to it.
Thanks, hon, I said back, inwardly chuckling at our generic pet-names – seemingly attached by osmosis from living in the same culture for so long. All this was done while we were still smiling and shaking hands, making our way up to the front of the House chamber.
The applause were still as strong as they were when we first stepped out, and at this point were getting a bit irritating. I gingerly stepped up onto the high podium in the front of the chamber, with clerks all around me and the Vice-President and House Majority leader sitting directly behind me. Silas was ushered to a reserved seat right in the front where I could see him at all times. Though I had my own ‘secret service’ as it were, nearly everyone knew, or had heard, about the last time someone unauthorized had laid a malicious hand on my childe. It…wasn’t pretty.
Sorry. But I digress.
I stood for a few seconds while they still clapped enthusiastically. Then, after a moment or two, the applause started to dissipate, always from the back forward, and eventually stopped altogether. The familiar sound of clatter and chatter greeted my ears as the body started to sit en masse, fidgeting to get comfortable in their seats. After a few quiet beats, and a glance down to a smirking Silas, I cleared my throat to gather their attention.
I let the silence linger for a moment before I commenced.
“Mr. Vice-president, Mr. Speaker, honorable members of Congress, and my fellow companions: I am greatly honored by your invitation to host me here again another year in these hallowed halls, rich with tradition. But I do not want to give the wrong impression of being here for especially banal purposes; no, I came here to inform you of something that each and every one of you ought to hear.
“Mr. Washington one told me, ‘All works done in good conscience must account for all of one’s attributes.’ And that is what my purpose here is today; this is done in good will and with good conscience.
“To be short, we have a dire circumstance on our hands. The Elders have certain intelligence that there is a Mimic among us.”
The murmuring that erupted with that statement nearly called for the Vice-president to call them to order. I waved my hand dismissively, and waited for the hubbub to die down on its own. When it did, I resumed.
“As I said, we have intelligence that a mimic is among us.
“About 6 months ago, there were allegedly sightings and rumors about this so-called mimic that were ultimately put to rest. But, regrettably, that was not totally the case. Though we had thought that we had successfully neutralized the perpetrator, it went ultimately unsuccessful. We didn’t. And we haven’t. And that’s why I’m in front of you today.
“The Elders are officially requesting that all Vampiric Abdicators, or more colloquially known as ‘slag-hunters,’ be put on Code Hotwire. That means everyone. I’ve already informed the President, who has already made the executive order, so this is more of a recanting than a request. Exchanging of intelligence is already underway, and this ‘Mimic’ shall be found. With both our forces together, this dangerous and malignant villain shall be put to rest. Permanently.”
I inhaled and exhaled sharply, turning the page of my prepared notes.
“Now, for issues less dire. The Elders send their heartfelt thanks to the honorable people of this chamber, and would like to resume talks to re-negotiate the treaty with the Low Elders of Canada, appertaining to the light scuffle in northern Washington state that claimed 3 lives. This isn’t anything of concern, but the Elders would like to end that conflict peacefully.
“Elder Fennhaugh sends his warmest regards, planning to return in a year or two to visit you personally, and Elder Ahmed is working hard in Yemen, as you all know, to eradicate any vampire that tried to join the ranks of ISIS. He has had a 100% success rate so far, so we’re hoping he keeps it up.”
A cough in the back reminded me to start wrapping it up.
“I want to thank you all again for your most gracious attention and kindness. In these coming day we will need to work closer together, not farther apart.
“Thanks you, and good night.”
The applause started almost immediately again, and I stepped down from the podium, leaving my paper speech behind. Taking Silas by the hand, we strode confidently out of the chamber, and out of the building, to our awaiting black SUV. The tires silently humming on the asphalt on the way back to our home, I ruminated on the speech I gave while looking out into the inky black sky. About the mimic. I think I made my point clear.
Not bad for someone that looks like a 17 year old.