In the brief time, Tiffany had been in his dorm room, Merle had seen
three different women in her. The first was demanding, the second was
submissive, and now he saw a terrified woman. He didn't think someone
could be more than one person, but as she wiped away a stray tear,
she summoned a steady resolve and transformed into a fourth woman.
The experienced professional.
Merle pled with her, but she ignored him and grabbed the instruments out of his hands. She laid out the instruments on his desk and began explaining how they worked as she assembled them into a device designed for mutilation.
"This is all so complicated. Why didn't he just bite my neck?"
He didn't want her to answer. He was trying to stall.
Tiffany explained vampires don't like to bite people because they don't like making more vampires.
"Not biting someone is like birth control," she added.
"What's wrong with more vampires?" Merle asked.
"Are you stupid? Do you want to be turned undead?"
"No! Please, God no!"
"Stop crying. More vampires mean fewer livestock."
"They eat farm animals?"
"People. Merle. People. Vampires call us livestock. If they turn too many people, there isn't enough livestock for them, so they become weaker. They live forever, so depleting their livestock has very permanent problems."
Tiffany completed the assembly of the silver mutilation device, and it waited for him. Stalling wasn't going to work anymore.
"The kit is old, but it's been cleaned," she said. Then with a hint of sympathy, she added, "We all had to do this, Merle."
"We? There's more than just the two of us?"
Tiffany's eyes avoided his own. The
force behind her voice had been drained. "You'll see."
Then she directed him to lay down on his bed while she walked him through the procedures.
"Mortilus says he can tell if your gift isn't freely given, so you have to operate the device on your own."
"How much blood will I lose?"
"If I told you an amount, would you have any idea if it was a lot or a little?"
"The first gift is always a lot."
"You lied to me."
She didn't defend herself.
She gave the first set of instructions which covered how it should attach to his wrist. He didn't follow them. She repeated them as commands, and this time his motions were sharp and jagged protests against what he was being coerced to do.
"Now we find out if you're a werewolf." She said.
Merle couldn't find the meaning of her words. She pointed to the device attached to him. "It's real silver, sort of a safety precaution for them."
When it came to piercing his skin and drawing blood, he was far more cautious with the equipment than he had been seconds earlier.
They didn't speak during the bloodletting. She only spoke the instruction to stop the device. He tried to follow her commands, but he was too weak to operate the device.
"Shit!" she said and began going carrying out her own instructions. Then she bandaged his arm before packaging Merle's gift to Mortilus.
She stared at him in silence, waiting for him to either recover or die.
Time had passed. He couldn't tell how
much, but it was still dark outside. He started to sit up.
"Don't." Tiffany said, "I'll come back with food. When you are strong enough, I'll teach you how to clean the instruments for your next time."