The next few days were awful for Jack’s family. You wouldn’t think so – he was just up in the attic. But they were under strict orders not to go up there, not to come by to see him and under no circumstances mention to anyone, anywhere that he was there.
Other than the youngest, Tina, who was of the opinion that secrets were meant to be shared and therefore had her eldest sister riding herd on her, the last part wasn’t too hard. Keeping secrets from each other in a small apartment with ten people in it was impossible – or so Jack thought. I pointed out that Lisa had managed and so had his mother. He conceded, although he pointed out that both of them had enough sense not to say anything until they wanted the secret told. I conceded that point.
Regardless, Jack figured they were good for about two weeks from anyone outside the building – less if Tina or Jo-jo got away from their respective keepers.
I was sitting on Tresmayne’s little sofa in the attic apartment. Tresmayne was sleeping – he had assured us mere talking would not wake him – and Jack was stretched out beside me.
Another thought occurred to me – probably much too late – and I wondered aloud, “How did you explain this to your family? I mean…”
Jack nodded lazily, “I know – I wasn’t going to tell them at first, but Momma nixed that plan. She told them – everyone individually.”
“How’d they take it?”
Jack grinned, “Mike and Tina took it pretty well. Kevin had known since he was ten and saw Uncle Martin jump from the fourth floor to the ground going after a creature. He confronted Uncle Martin and that’s when he found out. Donna had found Momma’s sword – don’t ask me why she was in the back of Momma’s closet – when she was seven and Uncle Janus was visiting – he told her it was his but then told her the truth.” Jack chuckled, “Never lie to Donna’s face – she’ll catch you every time. Anyway, Marty found out a few months ago – he saw Mr. Myers having a discussion with his cats on the rooftop – Meyer went downstairs to get something and came back with it, so Marty knew they understood. Took him two weeks to get up the guts to ask Mr. Myers, though. Jane asked Poppa when Mr. J died why Momma hadn’t stopped it – she overheard a conversation with some other slayer years ago and had always known.”
“So you spent six weeks…”
“… Keeping my youngest siblings in the dark for no apparent reason, yeah.” Jack conceded with a grin. “Mike thought it was hilarious that the only one of us to become a slayer, me, was about the only one that didn’t know.” He turned to me, “But you’ve told not only family but friends?”
“Some, sure – once I started emerging, I was having to duck out of things – you can only claim to go to the bathroom for an hour or more so many times before your friends catch on. It’s different for everyone – some slayers never reveal what they are to anyone at all and others will tell anyone that will listen.” I explained.
Jack shook his head, “With so many people in the know, how is this not public knowledge?”
“It is.” I replied, “There are a lot of regular books, folklore, and information about creatures – heck, one of the best creature compendiums was written by a non-slayer – it’s on Amazon. Stoker may have embellished a bit but his account of the Dracula Incident is spot on. I grant, the movie is pretty funny and the TV series goes into lala land pretty quickly but Buffy’s biography is very public, so even slayers are known now. It’s not that the information isn’t out there – it’s that people do not want to believe.”
“The Mistress thinks it’s for the best – people get preoccupied with creatures when they accept their existence. They spend a lot of time worrying about things they will probably never encounter – at least not where it matters. So what if you walk past a werewolf on the street – as long as it isn’t bothering anyone? But people fear creatures – rightfully – and they go overboard trying to protect themselves.”
“Witch hunts…” Jack began.
“Sure, but those are fairly rare and burn out pretty fast. No, it’s the little superstitions that become the most detrimental – the Mistress said she knew one woman who was so deathly afraid of vampires that her entire garden was garlic. You can only sell so much garlic to your neighbors – it hurt her family for a couple years until her husband put a stop to it and only let her plant enough for the house. The Mistress said the house reeked of garlic and they had very few visitors as a result.”
“Bit extreme, but I see your point. Waste of time, energy and resources – and there’s little need, that’s what we’re for.”
“Exactly. Besides, only traditionals are affected by all the traditional methods – moderns will laugh at things like garlic – so it doesn’t do that much good, anyway.” I replied.
Jack’s phone rang and he excused himself without actually getting up.
“No, I can’t – ask Tim, he can do it for you. No, you may not – go ask Tim!” Jack told the phone.
“Tina?” I asked as he got off.
He nodded, “You’re getting good at that. She needs help with a school project and Poppa is busy with the car.” he grinned slyly, “It could have been Jane…”
I shook my head, “She only calls for plumbing and bug emergencies. And she’d be screaming.”
Jack laughed, “True, true!”
That wasn’t the half of it. Like I said to begin with, this was really hard on Jack’s family. They are pretty close knit – but more to the point, they are used to having Jack available and willing to help. They knew he was available – probably willing – but they couldn’t see and touch and talk to him like normal. In a way, it would have been easier had he stayed with his aunt – having him right in the building was torture to the family that was so used to having him as a present and big part of itself.
Jack spent the next three days mostly on the phone. Some normal things, like Tina’s homework; some contrived just to have an excuse to talk to him. More over, it spilled out of the building. I came home from my first day of classes to find Jane inconsolable on the stoop – she was missing a brother she knew full well was in the building but she couldn’t go see him. Her friends, still thinking he was in Mississippi, to Jane’s credit, were trying to comfort her. I helped best I could and finally took her in to her mother. Some things only a mom can do.