فصل 16

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فصل 16

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16

“Bad news, I’m afraid.” Lucy Meriweather’s lips twisted in a sympathetic grimace. She was one of the Beinecke librarians, and she’d helped me for years, both with my own research and on the occasions when I brought my students to the library to use the rare books there. “If you want to look at Manuscript 408, you’ll have to go into a private room with a curator. And there’s a limit of thirty minutes. They won’t let you sit in the reading room with it.”

“Thirty minutes? With a curator?” I was stunned by the regulations, having spent the last ten months with Matthew, who never paid any attention to such restrictions. “I’m a Yale professor. Why does a curator have to baby-sit me?”

“Those are the rules for everybody—even our own faculty. The whole thing is online,” Lucy reminded me.

But a computer image, no matter how high the resolution, wasn’t going to give me the information I needed. I’d last seen the Voynich manuscript—now Beinecke Library MS 408—in 1591, when Matthew had carried the book from Dr. Dee’s library to the court of Emperor Rudolf in Prague, hoping that we could swap it for the Book of Life. Now I hoped it would shed light on what Edward Kelley might have done with those missing pages.

I’d been searching for clues to their whereabouts since we went to Madison. One missing page had an image of two scaly, long-tailed creatures bleeding into a round vessel. The other image was a splendid rendering of a tree, its branches bearing an impossible combination of flowers, fruit, and leaves and its trunk made up of writhing human shapes. I’d hoped that locating the two pages would be fairly straightforward in the age of Internet searches and digitized images. So far that had not been the case.

“Maybe if you could explain why you need to see the physical book . . .” Lucy trailed off.

But how could I tell Lucy I needed the book so I could use magic on it?

This was the Beinecke Library, for heaven’s sake.

If anyone found out, it would ruin my career.

“I’ll look at the Voynich tomorrow.” Hopefully, I would have another plan by then, since I couldn’t very well haul out my mother’s book of shadows and devise new spells in front of a curator. Juggling my witch self and my scholar self was proving difficult. “Did the other books I requested arrive?”

“They did.” Lucy’s eyebrows lifted when she slid the collection of medieval magical texts across the desk, along with several early printed books. “Changing your research focus?”

In an effort to be prepared for any magical eventuality when finally it came time to recall Ashmole 782 and reunite it with its missing pages, I had called up books that might inspire my efforts to weave new higher-magic spells. Though my mother’s spell book was a valuable resource, I knew from my own experience how far modern witches had fallen when compared to the witches of the past.

“Alchemy and magic aren’t completely distinct,” I told Lucy defensively. Sarah and Em had tried to get me to see that for years. At last I believed them.

Once I was settled in the reading room, the magical manuscripts were as intriguing as I’d hoped, with sigils that reminded me of weavers’ knots and gramarye that was precise and potent. The early modern books on witchcraft, most of which I knew only by title and reputation, were horrifying, however. Each one brimmed with hatred—for witches and anyone else who was different, rebellious, or refused to conform to societal expectations.

Hours later, still seething over Jean Bodin’s vitriolic insistence that all foul opinions about witches and their evil deeds were warranted, I returned the books and manuscripts to Lucy and made an appointment for nine o’clock the next morning to view the Voynich manuscript with the head curator.

I tramped up the staircase to the main level of the library. Here, glass-encased books formed the Beinecke’s spinal column, the core of knowledge and ideas around which the collection was built. Rows and rows of rare books were lined up on the shelves, bathed in light. It was a breathtaking sight, one that reminded me of my purpose as a historian: to rediscover the important truths contained in those old, dusty volumes.

Matthew was waiting for me outside. He was lounging against the low wall overlooking the Beinecke’s stark sculpture garden, his legs crossed at the ankles, thumbing through the messages on his phone. Sensing my presence, he looked up and smiled.

Not a creature alive could have resisted that smile or the look of concentration in those gray-green eyes.

“How was your day?” he asked after giving me a kiss. I’d asked him not to text me constantly, and he’d been unusually cooperative. As a result he genuinely didn’t know.

“A bit frustrating. I suppose my research skills are bound to be rusty after so many months.

Besides”—my voice dropped—“the books all look weird to me. They’re so old and worn compared to how they looked in the sixteenth century.”

Matthew put his head back and laughed. “I hadn’t thought about that. Your surroundings have changed, too, since you last worked on alchemy at Baynard’s Castle.” He looked over his shoulder at the Beinecke. “I know the library is an architectural treasure, but I still think it looks like an ice-cube tray.”

“So it does,” I agreed with a smile. “I suppose if you’d built it, the Beinecke would look like a Norman keep or a Romanesque cloister.”

“I was thinking of something Gothic—far more modern,” Matthew teased. “Ready to go home?”

“More than ready,” I said, wanting to leave Jean Bodin behind me.

He gestured at my book bag. “May I?”

Usually Matthew didn’t ask. He was trying not to smother me, just as he was attempting to rein in his overprotectiveness. I rewarded him with a smile and handed it over without a word.

“Where’s Roger?” I asked Lucy, looking down at my watch. I’d been granted exactly thirty minutes with the Voynich manuscript, and the curator was nowhere to be seen.

“Roger called in sick, just as he always does on the first day of classes. He hates the hysteria and all the freshmen asking for directions. You’re stuck with me.” Lucy picked up the box that held Beinecke MS 408.

“Sounds good.” I tried to keep the excitement out of my voice. This might be exactly the break I needed.

Lucy led me to a small private room with windows overlooking the reading room, poor lighting, and a beat-up foam cradle. Security cameras mounted high on the walls would deter any reader from stealing or damaging one of the Beinecke’s priceless books.

“I won’t start the clock until you unwrap it.” Lucy handed me the boxed manuscript. It was all she was carrying. There were no papers, reading materials, or even a cell phone to distract her from the job of monitoring me.

Though I normally flipped manuscripts open to look at the images, I wanted to take my time with the Voynich. I slid the manuscript’s limp vellum binding—the early-modern equivalent of a paperback— through my fingers. Images flooded my mind, my witch’s touch revealing that the present cover was put on the book several centuries after it was written and at least fifty years after I’d held it in Dee’s library.

I could see the bookbinder’s face and seventeenth-century hairstyle when I touched the spine.

I carefully laid the Voynich in the waiting foam cradle and opened the book. I lowered my nose until it practically touched the first, stained page.

“What are you doing, Diana? Smelling it?” Lucy laughed softly.

“As a matter of fact, I am.” If Lucy was going to cooperate with my strange requests this morning, I needed to be as honest as possible.

Openly curious, Lucy came around the table. She gave the Voynich a good sniff, too.

“Smells like an old manuscript to me. Lots of bookworm damage.” She swung her reading glasses down and took an even closer look. “Robert Hooke examined bookworms under his microscope in the seventeenth century. He called them ‘the teeth of time.’” Looking at the first page of the Voynich, I could see why. It was riddled with holes in the upper right corner and the bottom margin, both of which were stained. “I think the bookworms must have been drawn to the oils that readers’ fingers transferred to the parchment.”

“What makes you say that?” Lucy asked. It was just the response I’d hoped for.

“The damage is worst where a reader would have touched to turn to the next folio.” I rested my finger on the corner of the page, as if I were pointing to something.

That brief contact set off another explosion of faces, one morphing into another: Emperor Rudolf’s avaricious expression; a series of unknown men dressed in clothing from different periods, two of them clerics; a woman taking careful notes; another woman packing up a box of books. And the daemon Edward Kelley, furtively tucking something into the Voynich’s cover.

“There is a lot of damage on the bottom edge, too, where the manuscript would have rested against the body if you were carrying it.” Ignorant of the slide show playing before my witch’s third eye, Lucy peered down at the page. “The clothes of the time were probably pretty oily. Didn’t most people wear wool?”

“Wool and silk.” I hesitated, then decided to risk everything—my library card, my reputation, perhaps even my job. “Can I ask a favor, Lucy?”

She looked at me warily. “That depends.”

“I want to rest my hand flat on the page. It will be only for a moment.” I watched her carefully to gauge whether she was planning to call in the security guards for reinforcement.

“You can’t touch the pages, Diana. You know that. If I let you, I would be fired.”

I nodded. “I know. I’m sorry to put you in such a tough spot.”

“Why do you need to touch it?” Lucy asked after a moment of silence, her curiosity aroused.

“I have a sixth sense when it comes to old books. Sometimes I can detect information about them that’s not visible to the naked eye.” That sounded weirder than I’d anticipated. “Are you some kind of book witch?” Lucy’s eyes narrowed.

“That’s exactly what I am,” I said with a laugh.

“I’d like to help you, Diana, but we’re on camera—though there’s no sound, thank God. Everything that happens in this room is taped, and someone is supposed to be watching the monitor whenever the room is occupied.” She shook her head. “It’s too risky.”

“What if nobody could see what I was doing?”

“If you cut off the camera or put chewing gum on the lens—and yes, someone did try that— security will be here in five seconds,” Lucy replied.

“I wasn’t going to use chewing gum, but something like this.” I pulled my familiar disguising spell around me. It would make any magic I worked all but invisible. Then I turned my right hand over and touched the tip of my ring finger to my thumb, pinching the green and yellow threads that filled the room into a tiny bundle. Together the two colors blended into the unnatural yellow-green that was good for disorientation and deception spells. I planned on tying them up in the fifth knot—since the security cameras definitely qualified as a challenge. The fifth knot’s image burned at my right wrist in anticipation.

“Nice tats,” Lucy commented, peering at my hands. “Why did you choose gray ink?”

Gray? When magic was in the air, my hands were every color of the rainbow. My disguising spell must be working.

“Because gray goes with everything.” It was the first thing to cross my mind.

“Oh. Good thinking.” She still looked puzzled.

I returned to my spell. It needed some black in it, as well as the yellow and green. I snagged the fine black threads that surrounded me on my left thumb and then slid them through a loop made by my right thumb and ring finger. The result looked like an unorthodox mudra—one of the hand positions in yoga.

“With knot of five, the spell will thrive,” I murmured, envisioning the completed weaving with my third eye. The twist of yellow-green and black tied itself into an unbreakable knot with five crossings.

“Did you just bewitch the Voynich?” Lucy whispered with alarm.

“Of course not.” After my experiences with bewitched manuscripts, I wouldn’t do such a thing lightly. “I bewitched the air around it.”

To show Lucy what I meant, I moved my hand over the first page, hovering about two inches above the surface. The spell made it appear that my fingers stopped at the bottom of the book.

“Um, Diana? Whatever you were trying to do didn’t work. You’re just touching the edge of the page like you’re supposed to,” Lucy said.

“Actually my hand is over here.” I wiggled my fingers so that they peeked out over the top edge of the book. It was a bit like the old magician’s trick where a woman was put in a box and the box was sawed in half. “Try it. Don’t touch the page yet—just move your hand so that it covers the text.”

I slid my hand out to give Lucy room. She followed my directions and slid her hand between the Voynich and the deception spell. Her hand appeared to stop when it reached the edge of the book, but if you looked carefully, you could see that her forearm was getting shorter. She withdrew quickly, as though she’d touched a hot pan. She turned to me and stared.

“You are a witch.” Lucy swallowed, then smiled. “What a relief. I always suspected you were hiding something, and I was afraid it might be something unsavory—or even illegal.” Like Chris, she didn’t seem remotely surprised to discover that there really were witches.

“Will you let me break the rules?” I glanced down at the Voynich.

“Only if you tell me what you learn. This damned manuscript is the bane of our existence. We get ten requests a day to see it and turn down almost every one.” Lucy returned to her seat and adopted a watchful position. “But be careful. If someone sees you, you’ll lose your library privileges. And I don’t think you would survive if you were banned from the Beinecke.”

I took a deep breath and stared down at the open book. The key to activating my magic was curiosity. But if I wanted more than a dizzying display of faces, I would need to formulate a careful question before putting hand to parchment. I was more certain than ever that the Voynich held important clues about the Book of Life and its missing pages. But I was only going to get one chance to find out what they were.

“What did Edward Kelley place inside the Voynich, and what happened to it?” I whispered before looking down and gently resting my hand on the first folio of the manuscript.

One of the missing pages from the Book of Life appeared before my eyes: the illumination of the tree with its trunk full of writhing, human shapes. It was gray and ghostly, transparent enough that I could see through it to my hand and the writing on the Voynich’s first folio.

A second shadowy page appeared atop the first: two dragons shedding their blood so that it fell into a vessel below.

A third insubstantial page layered over the previous two: the illumination of the alchemical wedding.

For a moment the layers of text and image remained stacked in a magical palimpsest atop the Voynich’s stained parchment. Then, the alchemical wedding dissolved, followed by the picture of the two dragons. But the page with the tree remained.

Hopeful that the image had become real, I lifted my hand from the page and withdrew it. I gathered up the knot at the heart of the spell and jammed it over my pencil eraser, rendering it temporarily invisible and revealing Beinecke MS 408. My heart sank. There was no missing page from the Book of Life there.

“Not what you expected to see?” Lucy looked at me sympathetically.

“No. Something was here once—a few pages from another manuscript—but they’re long gone.” I pinched the bridge of my nose.

“Maybe the sale records mention them. We have boxes of paperwork on the Voynich’s acquisition.

Do you want to see them?” she asked.

The dates of book sales and the names of the people who bought and sold the books could be assembled into a genealogy that described a book’s history and descent right down to the present. In this case it might also provide clues as to who might once have owned the pictures of the tree and the dragons that Kelley removed from the Book of Life.

“Absolutely!” I replied.

Lucy boxed up the Voynich and returned it to the locked hold. She returned shortly thereafter with a trolley loaded with folders, boxes, various notebooks, and a tube.

“Here’s everything on the Voynich, in all its confusing glory. It’s been picked through thousands of times by researchers, but nobody was looking for three missing manuscript pages.” She headed toward our private room. “Come on. I’ll help you sort through it all.”

It took thirty minutes simply to organize the materials on the long table. Some of it would be no use at all: the tube and the scrapbook full of newspaper clippings, the old photostats, and lectures and articles written about the manuscript after the collector Wilfrid Voynich purchased it in 1912. That still left folders full of correspondence, handwritten notes, and a clutch of notebooks kept by Wilfrid’s wife, Ethel.

“Here’s a copy of the chemical analysis of the manuscript, a printout of the cataloging information, and a list of everyone granted access to the manuscript in the past three years.” Lucy handed me a sheaf of papers. “You can keep them. Don’t tell anyone I gave you that list of library patrons, though.”

Matthew would have to go over the chemistry with me—it was all about the inks used in the manuscript, a subject that interested both of us. The list of people who’d seen the manuscript was surprisingly short. Hardly anyone got to look at it anymore. Those who had been granted access were mostly academics—a historian of science from the University of Southern California and another from Cal State Fullerton, a mathematician-cryptographer from Princeton, another from Australia. I’d had coffee with one of the visitors before leaving for Oxford: a writer of popular fiction who was interested in alchemy. One name jumped off the page, though.

Peter Knox had seen the Voynich this past May, before Emily died. “That bastard.” My fingers tingled, and the knots on my wrists burned in warning.

“Something wrong?” Lucy asked.

“There was a name on the list I didn’t expect to see.”

“Ah. A scholarly rival.” She nodded sagely.

“I guess you could say that.” But my difficulty with Knox was more than an argument over competing interpretations. This was war. And if I were going to win it, I would need to pull ahead of him for a change.

The problem was that I had little experience tracking down manuscripts and establishing their provenance. The papers I knew best had belonged to the chemist Robert Boyle. All seventy-four volumes of them had been presented to the Royal Society in 1769, and, like everything else in the Royal Society archives, they were meticulously cataloged, indexed, and cross-referenced.

“If I want to trace the Voynich’s chain of ownership, where do I start?” I mused aloud, staring at the materials.

“The fastest way would be for one of us to start at the manuscript’s origins and work forward while the other starts at the Beinecke’s acquisition of it and works backward. With luck we’ll meet at the middle.” Lucy handed me a folder. “You’re the historian. You take the old stuff.”

I opened the folder, expecting to see something relating to Rudolf II. Instead I found a letter from a mathematician in Prague, Johannes Marcus Marci. It was written in Latin, dated 1665, and sent to someone in Rome addressed as “Reverende et Eximie Domine in Christo Pater.” The recipient was a cleric then, perhaps one of the men I’d seen when I touched the corner of the Voynich’s first page.

I quickly scanned the rest of the text, noting that the cleric was a Father Athanasius and that Marci’s letter was accompanied by a mysterious book that needed deciphering. The Book of Life, perhaps?

Marci said that attempts had been made to contact Father Athanasius before, but the letters had been met with silence. Excited, I kept reading. When the third paragraph revealed the identity of Father Athanasius, however, my excitement turned to dismay.

“The Voynich manuscript once belonged to Athanasius Kircher?” If the missing pages had passed into Kircher’s hands, they could be anywhere.

“I’m afraid so,” Lucy replied. “I understand he was quite . . . er, wide-ranging in his interests.”

“That’s an understatement,” I said. Athanasius Kircher’s modest goal had been nothing less than universal knowledge. He had published forty books and was an internationally bestselling author as well as an inventor. Kircher’s museum of rare and ancient objects was a famous stop on early European grand tours, his range of correspondents extensive, and his library vast. I didn’t have the language skills to work through Kircher’s oeuvre. More important, I lacked the time.

My phone vibrated in my pocket, making me jump.

“Excuse me, Lucy.” I slid the phone out and checked the display. On it was a text message from Matthew.

Where are you? Gallowglass is waiting for you. We have a doctor’s appointment in ninety minutes.

I cursed silently. I’m just leaving the Beinecke, I typed back.

“My husband and I have a date, Lucy. I’m going to have to pick up with this again tomorrow,” I said, closing the folder containing Marci’s letter to Kircher. “A reliable source told me you were on campus with someone tall, dark, and handsome.” Lucy grinned.

“That’s my husband, all right.” I smiled. “Can I look through this stuff tomorrow?”

“Leave everything with me. Things are pretty slow around here at the moment. I’ll see what I can piece together.”

“Thanks for your help, Lucy. I’m under a tight—and nonnegotiable—deadline.” I scooped up pencil, laptop, and pad of paper and rushed to meet Gallowglass. Matthew had seconded his nephew to act as my security detail. Gallowglass was also responsible for monitoring Benjamin’s Internet feed, but so far the screen had remained blank.

“Hello, Auntie. You’re looking bonny.” He kissed me on the cheek.

“I’m sorry. I’m late.”

“Of course you’re late. You were with your books. I didn’t expect you for another hour at least,”

Gallowglass said, dismissing my apology.

When we got to the lab, Matthew had the image of the alchemical wedding from Ashmole 782 in front of him and was so absorbed that he didn’t even look up when the door pinged. Chris and Sherlock were standing at his shoulder, watching intently. Scully sat on a rolling stool nearby. Game Boy had a tiny instrument in her hand and was holding it dangerously close to the manuscript page.

“You get scruffier all the time, Gallowglass. When did you last comb your hair?” Miriam swiped a card through the reader at the door. It was marked VISITOR. Chris was taking security seriously.

“Yesterday.” Gallowglass patted the back and sides of his head. “Why? Is a bird nesting in it?”

“One might well be.” Miriam nodded in my direction. “Hi, Diana. Matthew will be with you soon.”

“What’s he doing?” I asked.

“Trying to teach a postgraduate student with no knowledge of biology or proper laboratory procedures how to remove DNA samples from parchment.” Miriam looked at the group surrounding Matthew with disapproval. “I don’t know why Roberts funds graduate students who don’t even know how to run agarose gels, but I’m just the lab manager.”

Across the room Game Boy let out a frustrated expletive.

“Pull up a stool. This could be a while.” Miriam rolled her eyes.

“Don’t worry. It takes practice,” Matthew told Game Boy, his voice soothing. “I’m nothing but thumbs with that computer game of yours. Try again.”

Again? My mouth dried up. Making repeated stabs at the page from Ashmole 782 might damage the palimpsest. I started toward my husband, and Chris spotted me.

“Hey, Diana.” He intercepted me with a hug. He looked at Gallowglass. “I’m Chris Roberts.

Diana’s friend.”

“Gallowglass. Matthew’s nephew.” Gallowglass surveyed the room, and his nose wrinkled.

“Something stinks.”

“The grad students played a little joke on Matthew.” Chris pointed to the computer terminal, which was festooned with wreaths of garlic bulbs. A crucifix designed for a car dashboard was attached to the mouse pad with a suction cup. Chris turned his attention to Gallowglass’s neck with an intensity that was practically vampiric. “Do you wrestle?”

“Weeell, I have been known to do so for sport.” Gallowglass looked down shyly, his cheeks dimpled.

“Not Greco-Roman by any chance?” Chris asked. “My partner injured his knee and will be in rehab for months. I’m looking for a temporary replacement.”

“It must be Greek. I’m not sure about the Roman part.”

“Where did you learn?” Chris asked.

“My grandfather taught me.” Gallowglass scrunched up his face as his concentration deepened. “I think he wrestled a giant once. He was a fierce fighter.”

“Is this a vampire grandfather?” Chris asked.

Gallowglass nodded. “Vampire wrestling must be fun to watch.” Chris grinned. “Like alligator wrestling, but without the tail.”

“No wrestling. I’m serious, Chris.” I wanted no responsibility, no matter how indirect, for causing bodily harm to a MacArthur genius.

“Spoilsport.” Chris let out a piercing whistle. “Wolfman! Your wife is here.”

Wolfman?

“I was aware of that, Christopher.” Matthew’s tone was frosty, but he gave me a warm smile that made my toes curl. “Hello, Diana. I’ll be with you as soon as I’m finished with Janette.”

“Game Boy’s name is Janette?” Chris murmured. “Who knew?”

“I did. So did Matthew. Perhaps you could tell me why she’s in my lab?” Miriam asked. “Janette’s Ph.D. will be in computational bioinformatics. She belongs in a room full of terminals, not test tubes.”

“I like the way her brain works,” Chris said with a shrug. “She’s a gamer and sees patterns in lab results that the rest of us miss. So she never did advanced work in biology. Who cares? I’m up to my eyeballs in biologists already.”

Chris looked at Matthew and Game Boy working together and shook his head.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Matthew is wasted in a research laboratory. Your husband belongs in a classroom. He’s a born teacher.” Chris tapped Gallowglass on the arm. “Call me if you want to meet up in the gym. Diana has my number.”

Chris went back to his work and I turned my attention to Matthew. I’d only seen flashes of this side of my husband, when he was interacting with Annie or Jack in London, but Chris was right. Matthew was using all the tools in a teacher’s bag of tricks: modeling, positive reinforcement, patience, just the right amount of praise, and a touch of humor.

“Why can’t we just swab the surface again?” Game Boy asked. “I know it came up with mouse DNA, but if we picked a fresh spot, it might be different.”

“Maybe,” Matthew said, “but there were a lot of mice in medieval libraries. Still, you should feel free to swab it again after you’ve taken this sample.”

Game Boy sighed and steadied her hand.

“Deep breath, Janette.” Matthew gave her an encouraging nod. “Take your time.”

With great care Game Boy inserted a needle so fine it was almost invisible into the very edge of the parchment.

“There you go,” Matthew said softly. “Slow and steady.”

“I did it!” Game Boy shouted. You would have thought she’d split the atom. There were whoops of support, a high five, and a muttered “About time” from Miriam. But it was Matthew’s response that mattered. Game Boy turned to him expectantly.

“Eureka,” Matthew said, his hands spread wide. Game Boy grinned broadly. “Well done, Janette.

We’ll make a geneticist out of you yet.”

“No way. I’d rather build a computer from spare parts than do that again.” Game Boy stripped her gloves off quickly.

“Hello, darling. How was your day?” Matthew rose and kissed me on the cheek. One eyebrow lifted as he looked at Gallowglass, who silently conveyed that all was well.

“Let’s see . . . I worked some magic in the Beinecke.”

“Should I worry?” Matthew asked, clearly thinking of the havoc that witchwind and witchfire might cause.

“Nope,” I said. “And I have a lead on one of the missing pages from Ashmole 782.”

“That was quick. You can tell me about it on our way to the doctor’s office,” he said, swiping his card through the reader.

“By all means take your time with Diana. There’s nothing pressing here. One hundred and twenty five vampire genes identified and only four hundred to go,” Miriam called as we left. “Chris will be counting the minutes.”

“Five hundred genes to go!” Chris shouted.

“Your gene prediction is way off,” Miriam replied.

“A hundred bucks says it’s not.” Chris glanced up from a report.

“That the best you can do?” Miriam pursed her lips.

“I’ll empty my piggy bank when I get home and let you know, Miriam,” Chris said. Miriam’s lips twitched.

“Let’s go,” said Matthew, “before they start arguing about something else.”

“Oh, they’re not arguing,” Gallowglass said, holding the door open for us. “They’re flirting.”

My jaw dropped. “What makes you say that?”

“Chris likes to give people nicknames.” Gallowglass turned to Matthew. “Chris called you Wolfman. What does he call Miriam?”

Matthew thought for a moment. “Miriam.”

“Exactly.” Gallowglass grinned from ear to ear.

Matthew swore.

“Don’t fret, Uncle. Miriam hasn’t given any man a tumble since Bertrand was killed.”

“Miriam . . . and a human?” Matthew sounded stunned.

“Nothing will come of it,” Gallowglass said soothingly as the elevator doors opened. “She will break Chris’s heart, of course, but there’s naught we can do about it.”

I was deeply grateful to Miriam. Now Matthew and Gallowglass had someone to worry about besides me.

“Poor lad.” Gallowglass sighed, pushing the button that closed the elevator doors. As we descended, he cracked his knuckles. “Perhaps I will wrestle with him after all. A good thrashing always clears the mind.”

A few days ago, I’d worried whether the vampires would survive being at Yale once the students and faculty were around. Now I wondered whether Yale would survive the vampires.

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