was never quite the same, after Prague.
were in Berlin for a while, and she draped their apartment
in lace and gypsy fabrics with tassels, and during the
day didn't sleep much, but sat and preened in front of
the huge yellowing antique mirror in their bedroom. Between
1935 and 1939 Dru spent hours in front of mirrors.
would lie face down, diagonally across their bed, head
buried in pillows to avoid the buzzing electric light,
and slide in and out of sleep listening to her muttering
to her dolls, brushing her hair, filing her nails.
wore her hair up a lot, and liked to wear rather prim
housewifely dresses with polka dots. She would sit and
stare through herself to the reflected room beyond, and
when he glanced up, Spike always wondered if she was actually
seeing herself reflected there.
had gone to Germany after Hitler was voted in. Dru had
visions, nothing too threatening, just of power and the
thrill of it all, and insisted that she wanted to be in
Berlin. Anywhere was better than Prague, he agreed. She
still hadn't recovered, and Spike didn't quite know what
to do. He'd have asked Darla, but had no idea where she'd
disappeared to after Shanghai. Buggered off, just like
want to go dancing,” she said one night, twirling in front
of the mirror, silk negligee swirling around her thighs.
know where there is to go, love,” he said. He knew she
wasn't up to it.
you do,” she said, pouting. “You go out and come back
and smell like girls and smoke and chatter chatter chatter.
I want to go out.” She stamped her foot and her curls
do go out, Dru. We went out hunting just last night.”
sat down with a thump in front of the mirror. “Food. That's
all it is, and I'm not even hungry. I want to dance and
be merry.” Her eyes glazed over, and she pulled the corner
of her pale shawl. A silky thread came away, unraveled
along the hem.
let's go then,” he said, and carried her home an hour
later, when she fell asleep on the steps of a government
building while he was catching her a meal.
liked watching her get dressed, even if it was only for
around the house. It was quite a palaver, although not
as bad as at the turn of the century. Spike never liked
bustles, but he liked the new silk stockings. Watching
Dru as she pulled them up her legs and clipped the suspender
belt, dark flesh coloured and plain, almost serviceable,
standing out against the pale flesh of her thighs. They
reminded him of the serving girls when he was a teenager,
lusting after them in their plain work-clothes, and staring
through the banisters as they knelt to polish the hall
floors - searching for a glimpse of ankle.
came over to him and put her foot on the bed, by his head.
it,” she said with her nose in the air - a princess.
marvelled over her modern zippers, and when she asked
him to ‘do her up', hair held over her shoulder and a
coy look thrown back at him, he always took his time,
did it over and over, up and down, getting a thrill every
time the plain fold of her camisole came into view. Part
of him was that little boy, seducing the maid.
thought in quiet moments that the mirrors were maybe a
regression. She'd nearly died in Prague, after all. Maybe
she was reliving being human. How old would she be now,
if she were alive? he wondered once as he lay face down
on their bed. Eighty or ninety he guessed. Well past death-age.
She'd be wrinkled and her skin would be loose and her
teeth rotten and her hair grey and thin.
he thought things like that, he had to sit up and check,
make sure she was still there, as perfect and lush as
ever. He wondered if the reflection she saw in the mirror
was of that old woman. Sometimes she'd examine her teeth
hated Germany during this period. Everyone was so poor;
it was no fun at all. They all tasted thin and reedy,
under-nourished. The part of Spike's brain that always
sounded like his father lecturing him talked about economics
and reparations and hyper-inflation. His stomach just
said it was hungry.
winter came on Dru didn't like to go outside at all, rarely
pleaded for dances, never for food, and Spike watched
her as she sat wrapped in shawls and blankets and bedclothes
and insisted that she was cold.
we don't feel the heat love,” he tried telling her, but
she ignored him and pulled the lace throw off her dressing
table, taking her face powder down with it, spilling all
over the floor like a cloud-burst.
felt like he was watching her decompose. It seemed wrong,
somehow, that she looked so healthy even as she was so
ill. She had no strength, would swoon and faint. She hardly
slept, and when she did it was so deeply that he would
sometimes have to wake her because she looked so completely
dead, although he knew it was stupid.
he woke in the day to find her weeping in the bath, the
water cold and chalky. Folded in over herself, arms curled
into her stomach, and making no sound. One night he pulled
her out, hands under her armpits, and fetched a towel
that had been lying over the radiator in the bathroom.
He scrubbed her dry, lending her body the borrowed heat,
and took her back to bed with him. She was passive, hardly
even there, and let him manhandle her, wrap himself around
her in the sheets, the towel twisted with them and slowly
cooling. He knew she didn't go back to sleep, though.
She lay there staring at the ceiling, at the dust and
flaky wallpaper patterns, then the mirror, and their empty
know, people say the ravens first went to the Tower of
London because of the heads rotting on pikes,” he said,
to make her smile.
all along the wall they were, impaled. Traitors and blasphemers
or whatever. Rotting away.”
considered this, her head on one side, hairbrush paused.
“We should go there.”
it was quite a long time ago, Dru.”
Germany it was France and Paris and the threat of invasion.
During the nights in Berlin, when she wasn't going out
at all, Dru would sit in the windows and listen out for
anything fun happening, any SA activity that usually spelled
mayhem and violence. In Paris she missed this, but vibrated
instead to the hum of imminent war, which rang through
the populace like a bell and made them taste all the sweeter,
started to cut herself there, and he hated that more than
anything else. People believe that because vampires like
pain, that all pain is good. Spike would walk into the
apartment with a nice fresh young thing for Dru to nibble
on and find her passed out on the couch, arms flung out,
blood running onto the carpet freely. He'd never felt
worse. The blood traced the veins from the outside, crimson
and beautiful, rich and delicious, and he chanted in his
head, “Shouldn't have left her alone, shouldn't have left
good nights she would play the wireless until it went
off air, and he would spin her around the apartment to
‘I can't give you anything but love, baby'. She would
smile and bend backwards over his arm, her sheer dresses
hanging off her and showing ribs, breasts, very little
both dreamt, and the disparity of their dreams drove a
stake between them more surely than anything else. Dru
screamed sometimes, and then laughed, sometimes she talked
in her sleep, had entire conversations snatched from when
she was alive and sane, and often called for Angelus.
He knew she was dreaming of her death, and sometimes her
would sing: “Oranges and lemons
the bells of St Clements
owe me five farthings
the bells of St Martins
will you pay me?
the bells of Old Bailey
I grow rich
the bells of Shoreditch
will that be?
the bells of Stepney
sure I don't know
the great bell at Bow
comes a candle to light you to bed
comes a chopper to chop off your head
chop chop chop the last man's head clean right off!”
dreamt of those servant girls, spread out before him,
and of biting thigh, wrist, breast, waist, dotting their
bodies with blood and cuts, feasting on their curves.
Unbearably erotic dreams of vast lakes of these women
and their blood, their flirtatious teasing glances and
giggling bodies split open for his pleasure. He would
wake up panting and aroused, and sometimes when he woke
he was on Dru, pulling her, pushing her, hurting her,
you want me?” he would breathe across her. She wouldn't
reply, but stared at the mirror - watching the sheets
move, if nothing else.
wasn't sure she was strong enough for sex, but sometimes
he couldn't help himself, wanting her all the time, wanting
to pull her in and devour her. She would lie back with
a slight smile as he worked in her, not passive, not active.
And nowadays she could only come if he hurt her, which
used to be fun, but became less so when it turned into
necessity. At those moments, she would close her eyes
and move her lips, singing sometimes, giggling, calling
him Angelus, cutting him with her nails on his back.
he went out and got laid elsewhere. He knew that he'd
never be able to keep it a secret from Dru – one good
sniff – but he also knew that he couldn't last much longer
and he didn't want to force himself on her. He went to
nightclubs and drank cheap alcohol, slept with uninteresting
pretty girls with lacy garter belts, and only ever picked
the ones with dark hair, so sometimes he could close his
eyes and try to pretend they were Dru. He never slept
with men, even the dark-haired ones.
night he came home and found Dru drunk, blouse unbuttoned
and hanging off one shoulder, sitting in the middle of
the living room on the floor. She swayed and smiled at
his return, and made him describe the girl and the sex
in detail. He stroked her arms and lied to her, made it
dull and tasteless, instead of what it actually was: surprisingly
illicit and dark and delicious. He didn't want to admit
it, even to himself: he sometimes wanted those blank,
anonymous girls more than Dru nowadays. With their cherry
lipstick, dark eye-make-up, and French accents they seemed
helplessly exotic and rare.
so rarely had visions now that they came as a surprise,
whereas before when she had been healthy, he had almost
expected them. They used to make her smile in delight,
but now they upset her, she would keen and hold her head
and mutter about insects and death and darkness.
then one night in 1939 she stared into the mirror above
their fireplace. She liked the flames and seemed to be
watching them flicker over her skin in the reflection,
except, of course, there wasn't one. She picked up a statuette
of a slender, boyish flapper with a little dog at her
heels and weighed it in her hands, lightly. Then she leant
back and threw it at the mirror, which shattered spectacularly,
scaring Spike out of his light doze and cutting her all
over with flecks of glass.
night she had a vision of America, sparkling and new,
and they set off again.