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|by Angus Gordon
Many centuries had elapsed during which nothing of Sunnydale, except what lay in the theatre and the drama of my having a chip put in my head there, had any existence for me, when one night in summer, on my return home, my idiot lackey, seeing that I was thirsty, offered me some ox blood, a kind I did not ordinarily take. I declined at first, and then, for no particular reason, changed my mind. He sent for one of those squat, plump little breakfast foods called "Weetabix," which look as though they have been made from shredded cardboard and glue. And soon, mechanically, dispirited after a dreary night with the prospect of a sunny morrow, I raised to my lips a spoonful of the blood in which I had soaked a morsel of the Weetabix. No sooner had the warm liquid, mixed with the crumbs, touched my palate than a shiver ran through me and I stopped, intent on the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite dread had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of undeath had become indifferent to me, its pleasures commonplace, its endlessness illusory-this new sensation having had the effect, which hatred has, of filling me with a vile essence; or rather this essence was not in me, it was me. I had ceased now to feel hip, dangerous, immortal. Whence could it have come to me, this all-powerful ennui? I sensed that it was connected with the taste of the blood and the Weetabix, but that it infinitely transcended those savours, could not, indeed, be of the same nature. Where did it come from? What did it mean? How could I seize and comprehend it?...
And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of Weetabix which on weekday mornings in Sunnydale (because on those mornings I was not let out of my chains before Passions), when he came to grill me for information about the Initiative in his bathroom (information which, moreover, I did not impart, whether because I was unwilling to share it from fear that doing so would precipipate my certain death, or because I did not actually possess it, or because I possessed it only in that ineffable form which rendered impossible any attempt to transmute it into coherent speech), my nemesis's watcher Giles used to give me, dipping it first in his novelty mug filled with lukewarm pig's blood. The sight of the little Weetabix had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it; perhaps because I had often seen such things in the meantime, without tasting them, on the shelves in all-night supermarkets, that their image had dissociated itself from those Sunnydale days to take its place among others more recent; perhaps because, of those memories so long abandoned and put out of mind, nothing now survived, everything was scattered; the shapes of things, including that of the little turd of shredded wheat, so richly emetic under its severe, religious lines, were either obliterated or had been so long dormant as to have lost the power of expansion which would have allowed them to resume their place in my consciousness. But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the demons are dusted, after the Judge is broken and scattered, taste and smell alone, more fragile but more enduring, more immaterial, more persistent, more faithful, remain poised a long time, like vampires' souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unflinchingly, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.
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