Lucy led them down the hall and the succubus Grace followed. Outside of the doors to their rooms, Lucy said to Nellie, “If you need anything in the night, call for me. That goes for you too Doctor. I know this place must seem terribly frightful, but at least the Germans cannot find you here. However, strange creatures may roam the halls so do not leave your rooms without an escort until the sun rises. You are safe in your rooms.”
“What about the sorcery that caused me to stab Beau last night?” Nellie asked.
“You don’t have to worry about that,” Lucy said.
“How can you be sure?” Nellie asked.
“I just know,” Lucy said. “Should Dr. Paine give you a sedative to help you sleep?”
“No,” Nellie said, entering her room.
The Doctor entered his room without a word. They heard him draw the thick bolt shut. Grace disappeared soundlessly down the stairs. Beau and Lucy were alone in the corridor.
“I don’t think your friends are thrilled with me at the moment,” Lucy said, leaning back against the stone wall with her arms folded at her chest. To Beau, she appeared very human at that moment and it was a side of her his friends did not see.
“It’s been a rough day for all of us,” he said.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Lucy asked, looking up at him with her large, blue eyes.
“Not really,” Beau said. “I feel rather cowardly about facing Nyarlathotep and it’s not exactly something I want to talk about with my girlfriend.”
She smiled at him. “Beau, I know you – perhaps even better than you know yourself. You are not a coward.”
Lucy took him by the hand and led him into the room. The Queen of the Undead knelt down and untied his shoes, pulled off his shirt and pants and then directed him to lie flat on his chest on the bed. He heard the soft rustle of clothes falling to the floor and then felt her naked limbs straddle his back before she massaged his shoulders and neck and worked her fingers slowly down the tense muscles of his back.
Beau sighed contentedly. “In the past 24 hours one of my closest friends stabbed me in the chest, a man died in my arms, we were attacked by Nazi spies, questioned for hours by the Egyptian police, and now we are in the lair of a vampire worshiped as a god,” he said. “Your friend Maahes seems to have a bit of an ego.”
Lucy massaged him in silence for several minutes, working her way down his back to his thick legs. Various scars crisscrossed his body.
“You’re very good at this,” he sighed.
“I had lots of practice on my late husband,” she said.
“He was a lucky man,” Beau said.
“You’ve never shown any signs of jealousy when I’ve mentioned him or when I drink from others,” Lucy said.
“I’m quite modern in my thinking,” he said.
“In many ways I’m not,” she said. “I sometimes am shocked by my own behavior. I’m young enough as a vampire to still remember when I was alive.”
“You were born in 1873 if I recall,” Beau said.
“I sometimes forget how many details Arthur must have in his file about me,” Lucy said, working her way back up his back to his scarred left shoulder. “He said I could read it if I wanted, but I’d rather not know what others think of me.”
Beau raised his head slightly and then lowered it onto the back of his hands. “If you were alive, you’d be 65 years old in September,” he said.
“It doesn’t seem that long ago to me,” Lucy said. “Many vampires have existed for so long they have forgotten what it was like when they were mortal. I had just turned 20 when I was turned.”
“I’d really never thought about how old you are,” he said. “I mean, I knew, but I didn’t really think about it. You look like you’re 20, but you’re almost my grandmother’s age.”
Lucy laughed. “One of the reasons you appeal to me is you’re the type of man that the living me would have been attracted to,” she said. Lucy worked her fingers the length of his left arm and then moved to his right shoulder.
“I’m glad you’re not the jealous type because I think you should also know that The Scarlet Lord and I were lovers a long time ago.”
“Really?” Beau said. “How long ago? Ten, twenty years?
“Closer to 4,000,” Lucy said. “Give or take a century or two.”
Beau twisted around to look at her.
“You’re joking?” he said.
She shook her head.
“I don’t understand,” he said.
“I’ve wanted to tell you this for some time,” she said. “Honestly, I did. When Nellie performed her exorcism ritual, Lilith did not depart from me. Instead we merged.”
“Like there are two of you inside one body?” Beau asked. “Like Jekyll and Hyde?”
“No. It is not like that. Rather it is as if there is just one with shared memories and personalities. When I think of what happened long ago, I do not think of it as Lilith’s memories. I think of them as my memories. I am as much Lilith as I am Lucy.”
“That is unlike any other demonic possession in recorded history,” Beau said. “I know. I’ve made an extensive study of them.”
“But it is not demonic possession,” Lucy said. “I am Lilith. How could I possess myself?”
“Yet you are also the former Lucy Westenra?”
“Yes,” she said. “You must not tell the others. They would not understand.”
“I’m not sure I do either,” Beau said.
“I’ll try to explain further,” she said. “It’s not easy to talk about.”
“It must be quite painful,” he said.
She stared at him. “No, because I have to refer to myself as two different people,” she said. “When I – when Lucy – bit Lilith, drank her blood and killed her corporeal form, Lilith’s demonic essence – her soul if you prefer – flowed into Lucy through Lilith’s blood. But Lucy retained control of her body and her personality. Lucy could sense Lilith’s presence inside her, but Lucy remained in control. Then earlier this year, Arthur told me of an ancient prophecy that Lilith would save humanity from a horror from beyond the stars. So I agreed to his plan to allow a ritual to be performed to bring back Lilith into my body.”
“I feared you – I mean Lucy – were lost forever,” Beau said.
“I almost was,” she said. “When Nellie attempted to banish Lilith after she saved the world, Lucy’s essence returned to her physical body at the same time as Lilith’s was forced to depart. However, because Lilith and Lucy had shared the same body for so long, the two essences were blurred into one.”
“Remarkable,” Beau said. “But why do you call yourself Lucy then?”
“Because it made it easier for me to return to you under that name,” Lucy said. “I could have called myself Lilith, but you would have run from me.”
“So The Scarlet Lord knows of us,” Beau said, thinking out loud. “My scent would be upon you. Yet he still offered us shelter?”
“I’m still his queen,” Lucy said.
Beau twisted fully around and sat up to look at Lucy’s eyes. He searched them at length before speaking.
“It was him,” Beau said. “The Scarlet Lord. He was outside of our hotel last night. He used his powers to hypnotize Nellie to stab me in my sleep. It wasn’t the Germans or the sorcerers in league with Cyrus Vance. You said yourself he knows everything that occurs in Cairo. He knew when you arrived and must have seen us together. When you went out to feed he took that opportunity to use his powers on Nellie to try to kill me. He didn’t want to come inside himself because you would have known he had been there. He stayed outside of Nellie’s bedroom. It all fits. In mythology The Scarlet Lord always had a fondness for knives. You suspected him immediately after you tasted Nellie’s blood and knew she was not possessed by a demon. That’s why you left this morning so early on an errand. You came to confront him. You stayed long enough to make sure we were safe from another attack from him and then you came to confront him.”
“I ordered him not to harm any of you,” she said. “We had quite a row.”
“Yet you brought us here?”
“I have known him a long time,” she said. “When I returned to the hotel and learned the Germans’ had tried to kill you and you were in police custody, I knew I would need his assistance. He offered to safeguard you to make amends to me.”
“I see,” Beau said.
“You’re handling this much better than I expected,” she said. “I thought you’d be frightened when you found out I am also Lilith. Now you also know that I have brought you to the palace of the man who tried to kill you last night.”
“Truthfully that will probably trouble me later,” Beau said. “Right now I’m still trying to come to grips with the idea that you’re the same age as my Aunt Hildegard,” Beau said, lying back down.
She laughed, stood up and pulled him into a sitting position so they were nearly eye level with each other.
“Do you feel relaxed now?” Lucy asked.
“Yes,” he said.
Lucy looked deep into his eyes.
“This is important,” she said. “Do you still trust me as before knowing all that I have told you?”
“Yes,” he said.
Lucy smiled and her fangs glistened in the flickering lamplight.
Continue to Chapter 12.