Jacob frowned in frustration as he lay on his bed. He simply could not make sense of the book! He was very much accustomed to solving mathematical problems - it was indeed one of his favorite pastimes to decipher and create new such puzzles - yet somehow these medieval conumdrums eluded his comprehension.
It was true that they masked their inherent simplicity with a magistrally orchestrated apparent complexity. Jacob recalled the "ah" he had let burst at figuring out the first puzzle. Yet even aware of that veil of apparent difficulty, he could not make out the simple form awaiting behind it. Not yet anyway.
It was not hard to draw a parallelism with his experience with his mother only hours earlier. After her passing, he had stacked forgetfulness, anger, frustration, revenge, all together to hide his simple grief at not having spent more time with her, at not being more devoted as a human son. And so he had almost damned her to oblivion.
Yes, often you may solve the puzzles of life by a devious manner and be able to move on, but if you fail to grasp the elegant simplicity of their real solution you will have missed their point altogether...
He turned to Rachel, softly asleep, at his side, and recalled his experience earlier that night. He had tried to blend the two worlds, the human and the vampiric, to mix the feelings and hungers that drive each and so feel, at least for a moment, as having the best of both.
That was, at least, his rational reasoning for explaining his attempt at sexual exertion. That was the veil of complexity and subtlety he was pulling over the simple truth (but why?): that he had lost a mother, a brother, a life, and even a father more than once in the past month, and so longed almost desperately for plain old warmth, comfort, and touch.
Human comfort? Vampire comfort? Was there really a distinction, or was it just his mind trying to frame reality into the tidy little compartments it had always known? Was he really less human for not being sexually aroused by Rachel, but instead attracted to drawing her blood and sharing his own with her? We would call one feeling human, and the other unnatural - but why? Were they really that different? So it was now in his nature to pierce his lover's flesh with his fangs; so what? The same logic still applied: do it with feeling, and you'll feel better from it; or do it wantonly, and pay the price of your folly in guilt, remorse, or regret. He had already learnt that.
Why delve any further in vain attempts to draw similarities and parallelism with his past life? As a human, he had been absent and ungrateful towards his parents - and when his mother had died he had packed in the remorse and guilt - feeling responsible for her death but much more importantly for not DESPAIRING about it, for not crying his lungs out in pain - to a point of almost forgetting her. Was that not less human than *not* despairing, *not* crying, but *always remembering*? Why should he punish himself for not feeling things the way he thought he was supposed to feel them? His references for moral behavior were surely imperfect.
Yes, he could be a cold-hearted bastard. Yes, he could bear the loss of close ones without a tear. Yes, he could kill and even torture with no regret or hesitation. Yes, he was a vampire and killed not so much for the sustenance of blood but because it was his *nature*, because he loved to hunt much more than he had ever loved math, and he wanted to be good at it, he wanted to be the best hunter ever...
But he still feared for his father's safety, where before his embrace he had been indifferent. He still felt better around Rachel, and worried that she was so near despairing about her own life, where before his embrace he would never had noticed her. He still held a shred of hope that Quentin might be saved, where before his embrace he had hoped Quentin would give up his life for what others thought he should do with it.
And he still stood by Ian as he had before, but now much more so due to the affinity of their existence.
More human or more monster? You tell me.
Carefully, he closed the Luminus book and put it down as he felt his eyelids heavying. He had not solved any of the other puzzles - but maybe the book had helped him far beyond that, after all...