There were seven bells ringing, three of iron, three of brass—one of silver. Their sound was as chaotic and cold as the wind that blew at Kainja's back, as sharp and dark as the scimitar shapes of the mountain vultures circling above his head in the dimming sky of evening. Those vultures had a purpose here, but it wasn't that they were waiting for him to die. That would have been futile. They were waiting for him to leave so they could settle again to the feast he had interrupted.
Framing the meticulously ordered canvas of the dead that lay before him were a monastery's ruins. Smoke helices lifted over broken walls and orange and black kites fluttered on the ground like raped angels. A row of stone monkeys had lost their heads. Even worse was the water cistern filled with blood, a conspicuous waste. Someone had created a sadistic landscape here. They had done it deliberately, out of some need or passion that Kainja did not understand and which horrified him. And the worst thing of all was that only one person could be responsible, the woman Kainja loved more than anyone else living in the world.
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This is a little piece of a story called “Wanting the Mouth of a Lover.” The vampire Kainja visits the Himalayas and finds an old enemy and an old lover, and for a while it seems they may both be the same person.
There are three Kainja stories in Midnight in Rosary. The other two are “In a Cold of Snow and Ghosts,” and “Vessel for the Holy.” All of them appeared first in Prisoners of the Night, the anthology series edited by the inimitable Alayne Gelfand. There’s a secret about Kainja that is revealed in “Wanting the Mouth of a Lover.” I won’t tell you what it is but someday I hope some of you will tell me! :)
Barnes & Noble