Communication took greater time; less was said, I suspect. But there was never a voice attached to it, Yuri, or a face. In the days before the typewriter, a scribe wrote the letters for the Elders. No one knew who this was." "Aaron, let me tell you something." "I know what you're going to say," said Aaron calmly, thoughtfully. You knew the Amsterdam Motherhouse well before you ever left it every nook and cranny. You cannot imagine where the Elders came together, where they received their communications. Nobody knows." "Aaron, you have been in the Order for decades. You can appeal to the Elders. Surely there is some way under such circumstances..." Aaron smiled in a cold, knowing way. "Your expectations are higher than mine, Yuri," he said. The pretty gray-haired woman had left the porch and was coming towards them. Small-boned, with delicate wrists, she wore her simple flaring silk dress with grace. Her ankles were as slender and well-shaped as those of a girl. "Aaron," she said in a soft scolding whisper. Her hands flew out, youthful, dainty, covered with rings, and clasped Aaron by the shoulders, and then she gently kissed his cheek. Aaron nodded to her in quiet understanding. "Come inside with us," said Aaron to Yuri. "They need us now. We'll talk later on." His face had changed dramatically. Now that Stolov was gone, he appeared more serene, more like himself. The house was filled with good rich cooking smells, and a high tempestuous mingle of voices. The laughter was loud, bursting, the merry ecstatic kind of laughter of people at a wake. One could hear others crying. Women and men crying. An old 239
man sat with his arms folded before him on a table, crying. A young girl with soft brown hair patted his shoulder over and over, her own face evincing only fear. Upstairs, Yuri was shown to a rear bedroom, small, faded, but quite appealing to him, with a narrow single four-poster bed, and a dark golden satin bedspread that had seen better days. There were dusty curtains on the windows. But he liked the warmth, the coziness, even the faded flowers on the wall. He glimpsed himself in the mirrored door of the chifforobe-dark hair, dark skin, too thin. "I am grateful," he said to the gray-haired woman, Beatrice, "but don't you think I should go to the hotel, that I should look out for myself?" "No," said Aaron. "Don't go anywhere. I want you here with me." Yuri was prepared to protest further. The house was needed for the family. But he could see simply that Aaron meant for him to stay here. "Oh, now, don't start being sad again," said the woman. "I won't have it. Come on, now, we're going to have something to eat and some wine. Aaron, I want you to sit down and drink a nice cool glass of wine. You too, Yuri. Now, both of you come." They went down the rear stairs, into the warmer air, and the misty white layers of cigarette smoke. Around a breakfast table, near a bright fire, sat several people crying and laughing simultaneously. And one solemn man who merely stared morosely into the flames. Yuri could not actually see the fire. He stood behind the chimney, but he saw the flicker and he heard the
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 325 pages?
- Spring '16
- English, Lasher, Lives of the Mayfair Witches, Aunt Gifford