“Of course we are.” To comfort both of them, he covered her hand with his. “Don’t let the fear and suspicion of the brutal and ignorant make you doubt yourself . We’ll get out of Manhattan, and then we’ll head north, north and west, until we find a clear way over the river . The farther away from urban areas , the better the chances.”
Cettie’s room at Fog Willows was above the kitchen, and it overlooked the entire manor. It had belonged to her tormentor, Mrs. Pullman, years ago, and she’d worried bad memories would assail her. But Mrs. Harding, who had fulfilled the duties of keeper after Mrs. Pullman and before Cettie, had worked some sort of magic on the place. She had completely redecorated it and even turned the drafty, dusty garret above the room into a pleasant space with windows and rugs and end tables and small bookshelves. The space that had once belonged to Cettie’s enemy, the woman who’d attempted to control and quiet her, was now her safe haven.
Suddenly I found it impossible to contemplate walking away without Reuben. To do something so feeble—so flaccid and pathetic—would be hard to live with. Even a bullet in the gut might be preferable to a never-ending sense of worthlessness. Being a vampire was bad enough. Being a skulking, cowardly, apathetic vampire would be hideous.
Three large vans slowly pulled up and they piled us all inside and then drove off in different directions. We rode in silence. The driver appeared more agitated than we were. He was young, probably twenty or twenty-one. I could tell he didn’t want to chauffeur us. His parents were probably forcing him. I unfortunately sat in the front seat next to him.
“Why don’t you just get a job?” He didn’t bother to look up at me. “And stop having other people take care of you. Wasting people’s time. I’m just saying.” I didn’t respond. If I said something he didn’t like, he could lie to his parents and get us kicked out. His voice permanently stained snobbish from a life of pampering. “The government just needs to come and round all of you up, and take y’all away. The cities would be so much safer and cleaner. People would be much happier.”
This memoir covers the latter part of my homeless journey, ranging from age fourteen to seventeen, predominately my high school years. The horror of my homelessness is what I call it. Allow me to take you down my path and to walk in my footsteps along my own hellacious underground railroad. If you are reading this in the midst of your own overwhelmingly challenging journey, it is you for whom I write….It is you whom I urge not to quit. I know your pain and through my pain, I wish to give you strength. For everyone else reading this, please understand my story is only one of millions of other homeless people.
It flashed into my mind that maybe Casimir was better off dead. I thought, What’s the point of living, if you’re a vampire? I felt so pitiable. So victimized. Nevertheless, while it seemed monstrously unfair that someone should be attacking powerless invalids like me, I could also understand the sense of revulsion motivating Casimir’s killer. After all, vampires made me sick. How could I blame other people for having the same response? I was in the unfortunate position of resenting behavior that I could understand perfectly. For several minutes I plunged deeper and deeper into an emotional black hole. Then, with an enormous effort, I hauled myself out again. I made a decision.
Now, nothing should be able to harm a man except himself. Nothing should be able to rob a man at all. What a man really has, is what is in him. What is outside of him should be a matter of no importance.