"You should know better than to ask that."
The voice came, quiet, resonant, from the darkness by the bookshelves.
"I've been through all the literature, the stories, the myths," said the researcher. "What I want to know is whom, really, they're talking about." The researcher paused, then defiantly, "I'm not afraid."
Laughter, like the chiming of far-off, silver bells, greeted the defiance. "And yet, did I not see you jump when the lights faded?"
"I was startled, that's all. Please, why won't you let me see your face?"
The researcher stood up to move toward the bookshelves. A hand emerged from the darkness. The skin was honey-colored, fingers long, the nails filed to points.
"Stay where you are." A pause, the length of two heartbeats. "You say you have 'been through the literature'." There came the softest of sighs. "Can it be you learned nothing?"
The researcher was dismissive. "Salt, stone, madness? Yes. I've read about these...'consequences'. You hardly expect me to believe them, do you? I'm quite capable of discerning fact from fiction."
Again, the light chiming of bells. "No, I don't suppose I expected you to believe. But, I had to give you the chance."
The researcher's voice blended hope and uncertainty. "Then, I may see you? After all I've read about you, all the time researching the myths."
"Tell me. In all you read, did you find a poem by that Celtic romantic, 'The Song of Wandering Aengus'?"
The researcher's breath caught as the other stepped out of the gloom. Light shone on a face of unutterable beauty.
"Do you mean to tell me that you couldn't distinguish the fact from fiction there?"
The woman softly touched her lips to the researcher's cheek and moved away with light, silent steps.
The researcher stood, breathing raggedly. Her skin tingled where she had been touched. Her lungs were full of the scent of the woman.
And she knew. She could never rest until she'd found Lilith again.