"Worms" / A Prayer / No Coin Changes Hands

The worms’ hands were cold. They’d slowly been drained and fed until they were soulless but living slaves of Mykel’s purchaser, anxious for undeath that would never come. They dragged Mykel from the pen.

When he was a calf, a wetnurse taught him a prayer to the forgotten god. Mykel silently prayed it now.

“Lord is a shepherd. I shall not suffer much,” he thought. “He makes me lie down in a pasture beside the water. I walk through a valley of death-shadows, but I’m only a little scared. Your rod and staff guard me. You prepare me for the table of my enemies…

“Lord Geezos,” he thought, “let him drain me at once, don’t let him make me a worm.”

As he was thinking this, he noticed something odd. He expected the vampire in black to produce a purse for the bloodvendor; instead, the vampire whispered something in the vendor’s ear. The vendor nodded and smiled, producing a small book from his pocket and making a note in it with a pencil.

“Toss him in the carriage,” the vampire snarled to the worms.

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