He doesn’t like Paris. She can smell the discontent on him, rank through the bouquet of daily blood. He doesn’t like to be swallowed, does her boy (except as occasion and old knees permit): hasn’t yet learned to love the deed unseen, the hand soft-gloved. Darla is practical, and a hundred years of American murder have drained all urgency from her dry throat, but watching him she sometimes forgets that she will have to curb his melodrama. “Just one city,” he says. “It hasn’t had a good fire for centuries, it’s due doom.” He paces their suite like a songbird caged, and serenades her with the last words of long-necked courtesans.
When she was something that could still remember sunlight, and her name, the Master told her to go out and kill everyone she’d ever loved. She almost staked him where he sat; she was that eager to obey him in those days. Then she realized he was laboring under a misconception.
Now, Darla remembers the shadow of human bone on the Master’s sunken cheek, and the first flush of strength.
Angelus believes that the purpose of monsters is to drag darkness out of its allotted hour into the sphere of light. He likes to talk, his mouth open and blunt against her thigh. He seems determined to counter the innocence of his living with an intellectual death. Darla doesn’t have the heart to tell him that a monster’s only purpose is to persist— to deny God his endless dust. She hooks her leg over his back, instead, sliding her foot between shoulder and spine: a white vale where no white wing will sprout.
Outside, Paris blooms with the dusk. Paris already burns.