When you have a bad feeling about it…

“Hey pal, let me see some ID.”

Nick Sakaki stopped at the door of The Mystic tavern and turned to the bouncer.  It was noon straight up and there were about four people in the whole establishment.

“You serious?” he stole a look at the bar to see the woman he was seeking out deliberately cleaning glasses in that way that suggested she was waiting to see what happened.  Indeed, what did Nick think to do with 300 lbs of washed up ex-Husky football player barking at him.  He patted his jacket pockets and then held up his empty hands.  “Damn, think I left it on the banana boat I just got off.”

Husky, obviously playing for the Islanders, chuckled and waved him on.  Nick rolled his eyes.  This job of his was certainly taking him to unfriendly climes of all types.  He faced the bar and the ever-so-tall and raven-haired Latina still obviously ignoring his entrance.  He let out a breath slow as he approached the bar.  Sophie had mentioned her looks but, well, the Hawt factor of 10 was frankly absent in Sophie’s remarks.  Although, she had said, “Morena will be hard to miss.”  He pulled up a seat at the bar as casually and cooly as he could.  Then he waited.

After a few minutes of her continuing to clean glasses, he decided to speak.  Before the words got out, she answered him.

“Let me guess, you’re the errand boy.”

He smirked, not letting her see the feathers she’d ruffled.  Being called a “boy” of any kind by a beautiful woman was a terrible start.  Maybe silence would be golden.  But her continued disregard rankled and unnerved him.  And he wasn’t one to keep his tongue when unnerved.  “Can I get a beer?”  He waited while she got him something out of the tap at a leisurely pace.  Which worked out nicely as he enjoyed watching her saunter towards him and set the mug in front of him.   “And I prefer the term Executive Assistant, thank you very much.”  He grabbed the beer and took a long draught, almost choking on it.

“What the hell is that?” he asked.

“PBR.  I hear it’s what all the hipsters are drinking nowadays.”

Nick nearly gagged, drinking down half of it quickly.  “After I finish this, let me buy you a real drink.  I only drink this shit at Mama’s Kitchen accompanied by a 5-alarm burrito.”

Morena smiled.  And he knew he was done for when she tossed her hair back while straightening to full height, putting her hands on her hips.  “I suppose she sent you here to talk me out of leaving him.”

“Huh?”  It took Nick a minute to figure it out what she meant.  She definitely looked like she could handle herself.  He got caught admiring her toned arms and she crossed them instead.  “Oh, no, I’m supposed to talk you into a class.”

“I’m a little old to be going back to school.”  And there it was.  He finally made direct eye contact and she immediately looked away, started moving back down the bar.  He was dismissed, without another thought.  Normally, if that happened in a bar while he was out, he’d let it be.  The Seattle girls were, um, tricky, at best.  But this wasn’t one of the bevy of Belltown bars and he wasn’t looking to score a number.  But as he was about to speak again, he saw her straighten, suddenly on alert, her hand sliding under the bar.

He turned a head to see two rather unpleasant looking thugs pushing Husky the doorman through the door, doubled over.   Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Morena’s hand patting under the bar, searching for something that obviously wasn’t there.  “Fucking Frank,” she swore under her breath.

The two men pushed Husky to the floor and kicked him for good riddance, one of them pointing a pistol at the bar’s security.  The front thug, dressed rather;y shabbily, addressed Morena.  “Now, Miss Fountenay, maybe you’d like to talk again about selling.”

In the midst of vampires, monsters, and other things that go bump in the night, Nick had forgotten that sometimes, daytime was no less nice.  He got a firm grip on his beer mug and waited to see what she’d do next.  He really should stick to culinary school.

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Published in: on February 14, 2010 at 8:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Scribbled Notes from Case #13: Maurice

  • How viral are vampire “fluids?”  What properties of blood, sweat, saliva….healing, bonding?  Effects on influence?
  • What was L’s relationship with Lucas?  Why is she not talking about him much?  Interest in courtesans?
  • What big cities did the twins travel through at what times?  Maybe can show migration path of European strains into No.America.
  • How exactly did M try to turn Annabel?  Methods vary among types/strains, blood sharing being most common.  Perhaps she wasn’t completely drained before she took his blood?
  • How common is it for vampire masters to share with kindred how to turn?
  • L’s ability of intention seems to be more nature of her of her sharp perceptions, not telepathy.  However, vampires tend to not have body language.  Perhaps they do but it is so slight…can that observation be taught to a human?
  • Where did L learn about the birds and the bees?  Or M for that matter?
  • Why was Caroline insistent on moving West?  (Check Memento for any Caroline references.)
  • Caroline’s transformation: what does it suggest about M & L’s strain? 
  • Are hybrid vamps possible?  Blood-Soul, Soul-Sex, Blood-Sex?  Can strains carry multiple types in them?  nature versus nurture?
  • How does one kill a succubus anyways!?
Published in: on November 11, 2009 at 10:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A Hero Too Late

Nick rushed into the Ice Lounge ready for action against…well, maybe he wasn’t quite ready for he knew not what.  A quick glance around revealed…nothing.  A few couples, a loan business traveler.  A busy night for the hotel bar.  He spotted a familiar bartender in a white jacket and headed for the bar, where there was only one lone patron.

As he walked, he noticed that the few couples seemed frozen in place, their eyes glazed over, their bodies held at strange angles or in mid movement.  Nick slowed his pace, the hairs on the back of his neck standing up.  The businessman in the easy chair also looked more a mannequin than a man, glass held in his hand halfway to his lips.  Nick took a few quick steps and rushed the bar where Viktor was still straightening the garnish dishes.  The lone patron, a shorter man in a maroon shirt and dark slacks, was swirling a glass of dark red wine quietly while leaning against the bar.

“Viktor,” Nick called.  Viktor ignored him.  “Yo, Viktor.”

“Viktor, take a break,” the man in the maroon shirt said.  Viktor, drone-like, turned and walked off without a single look at Nick.  The sensation of the willies was back again as Nick took in the man as he took a long draught from his wine glass.  While the man looked quite a bit smaller than him, Nick felt a chill coming from more than the chilled ice river built into the bar top.

The man considered the liquid in his glass for a moment before setting the glass on the bar.  He lifted his other hand in which he held a cell phone, one of those palm-sized ones with the QWERTY keyboard.  “So what’s your rush?”  There was something in his voice, something menacing and yet cajoling.

“My boss, I thought she might be in trouble.  There’s weird shit a-foot in the hood.”  The words tumbled out of his mouth before they had finished forming in his mind.

The man smiled a deep, fierce smile and turned his face to Nick’s.  Dark stubble was seeming to grow into place faster than any five o’clock shadow Nick had ever seen.  And his eyes burned black, sending an icy chill down his spine.  What the Hell had he gotten into?

“It seems that there are no damsels in distress for us to rescue here this night, Nick Sakaki.”

“Huh?”  Nick couldn’t remember saying his name but his memory of what had just happened felt like it was slipping away as quickly as it happened. 

The man stepped towards him but he was frozen in place.  Unable to move, Nick watched in horror as the dark mysterious man shoved something into his chest.  His arms found movement again a split second before the object dropped and Nick grabbed at it.  It was the cell phone.

He looked down into the man’s face as his dark eyes caught him.  They weren’t black at all but deep blood red.

“Your boss will be missing this.  At least one of us can be useful this evening.”

The strange man then began to slowly walk from the room and Nick felt compelled to watch him go until just at the top of the stairs out, he exploded into a murder of crows.  Words Nick would never use.  Not even in his most poetic moment.

He shook his head and suddenly the room was alive with movement and Viktor walked hurriedly back to the bar.

“Nick!  A-ha, good to see you.  What’s new?”

Nick clasped the phone.  “I have no fucking clue.”

Published in: on November 1, 2009 at 8:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Meat Market

Nick Sakaki had finished the last of the clean-up, set up the laptop as instructed by his new employer, and had the innards of the office sealed as tight as a drum against encroaching light.  It had been a long day and something kept tugging at him.  He knew where his new employer would be; he’d suggested a place that he trusted, knew the bartender there Viktor to be a good reliable person.  He considered the place safe.  But what it needed to protect against, he still didn’t know.  Sophie had promised to clue him in now that his statement of work was signed off.

 He should just wait until morning.  He still had to pick up his last bartending check at Jerry’s but then the Ice Lounge was a quick swing out of the way of his parent’s place in the International District.  It was really no trouble to stop by and check, make sure she made her appointment all right.  I mean, he was her new assistant, right?  He’s just being thorough.

 He bounded down the stairs with such purpose that he failed to see Oksana, the eldest daughter of the Russian deli owner until he was literally bumping into her as she stepped out of the shadows.

 “Hello,” she purred.

 “Shit!”  He took in her appearance in a hot instant:  trashy, skimpy outfit, fuck me boots, black stockings showing underneath her too short skirt.  But it was her face that turned up his caution:  she looked strung out, pupils too big, eyes too dark, mouth messily stained with dark red lipstick, hanging open almost unnaturally.  “Sorry, you startled me.”

 “Well, you’re a pretty one.”  She took in a long inhale as she casually put a long arm around him.  With her boots and her natural height, she was a smidge taller than Nick.  There wasn’t any part of her that didn’t send his tramp-ho Klaxons off.  “Where are you going tonight?  And can I come along?”

 “Uh, sorry.  I gotta head to work.  No rest for the barely employed.”  He gently tried to extricate her arm.  She replaced it with her leg, wrapping it around his waist, leaning him back against the wall. 

 She pouted.  “Don’t you want to party with me?”

 “How can I say this nicely…not really.”  He tried to step away from her, without pushing her away.

 She let him step away but just enough to put both arms around him.  “You sure smell nice.  I can hear you blood throbbing.”  She laughed deep in her throat.

 “Yeah?” He said, willing himself to be cool.  Then he forced all the concern out and began to put on the mask of indifference.  “Probably just ’cause I’m late.”  He shrugged, stopped trying to evade her, let himself go limp with her arms around him.

 The effect was immediate.  “Mmm, you’re no fun.”  She stepped away.

 He shrugged again and slowly began to walk around her, toward his sport bike.  He finally hazarded a glance back as he spoke, “Maybe next time.”

 She was gone.  She hadn’t made a sound.

Later, at Jerry’s, a bustling hotel bar full of the pretty sort of people, Nick leaned over the bar.  ”Hey Tobie, Sal was gonna leave my check.”

 Tobie, equally hip and just old enough to serve, waved him around.  “He left it behind the register, man.  Serve yourself, it’s hopping tonight.”

 Nick came around the bar and glanced over the crowd in the darkened lounge.  It was complete with the model types, the cougars, the traveling businessmen, the waitresses that all looked like they were walking a catwalk.  Every man’s possible type was wandering about, plying and cooing for appletinis and ceviche.  Including tall, leggy, trashy, Russian fake blondes.

 He saw her across the room as if the crowd parted just for them to meet eyes.  Hers were darker than before, pools of obsidian peering at him as if expecting him to be jealous as she brushed barely covered breasts against the arm of some 40-something suit with a bulging wallet as he ordered yet another round of overpriced appetizers.

 Something told Nick that pork dumplings weren’t on her mind for curbing her appetite.  She kept her eyes locked on Nick’s and he couldn’t look away as she nuzzled the suit’s ear, then ran the tip of her tongue along the rim of his earlobe, showing teeth that seemed too sharp and large to fit in her mouth.  Nick blinked and turned his back on her, grabbing his check and stuffing it into his pocket, struggling a bit with the fit of his jeans.  He rushed out from around the bar and dared to look back in her direction.  She blew him a kiss and smiled, lips pulling back.

 He hadn’t imagined it.  He felt the cold dread creep through him.  The pieces illogically fit together and he hurried out of the bar.  Ice Lounge was ten minutes from his parent’s place.  If he pushed it, he could be there in fifteen.  Somehow, he just knew Sophie needed a hand.  Though he couldn’t figure out what he thought he’d seen or why he thought he’d be able to do a damn thing if he was even right.

 He sped off anyways, kicking it into a new gear and risking a serious ticket, if only to shake of the willies the blonde had given him.

 

Published in: on October 17, 2009 at 9:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Excerpt: Who’s Who

Valerian:  Past Client, Male, Last Known wheareabouts: Prague.  Age, etc: Who cares?  As long as he stays away from me!

Lucy and Maurice Burim:  Clients & Charges, Last Known Whereabouts:  Catalina 1510.  Age:  Unknown status, assumed dead Vborn:1467 Hborn: 1454 Albania.  Horror Strain: suspect Carpathian, but unclear.  Maker: Unknown vampire, killed during incident.

Able to ween them off human blood with no known complications.  Had been turned accidentally, still unclear how.  Suspect they had been drained and during fallout of battle, had feed on nearby vampire before being found by their mother.  Mother fled country with immediate family once it was known they were vampires.

I wish I could find them again.

Published in: on September 17, 2009 at 5:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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DJB: A dream revisited

It’s the dream again.  Much like the vision induced by the lemon.  The sun is upon me.  Then it’s inside me, a roaring combustion.  And I’m holding it in, spreading my arms, my eyes glowing, stoking this internal fire, and just as I’m ready to explode, I hear a squeaking.  I look down and there’s a little girl in long dark pigtails on a tricycle.  She looks up at me with big brown doe eyes.

“Can I help you Mister?”

I want to tell her to go but before I can, she rides away.  I move my head to watch her go, want to follow her but notice, I’m now tied to a cross, unable to break free of golden chains holding my arms out, legs dangling.  My chest heaves, the strain of my own weight dragging me down.  I’m not me any more but an older, nay, historic, mortal, lesser version of myself.  I raise my head up, straining against my chains, ready to be consumed.  But I’m fighting it.  I wrestle with it. 

Then I feel a cool touch on my shoulder.

It’s an angel with gossamer wings, the symbol of infinity branded into her skin just at her jugular.  She alights down to me, hovering above me, drawing my chin up, kisses me, and a lemontreecool refreshing feeling courses through me.  Tart but sweet.  Tangy.  She leans away, my lips still wet, and I open my eyes as she speaks.

“I’m here to help free you.”

I smile.  The golden chains are gone and I’m no longer attached to a cross.  I’m standing in front of a great green tree, its branches laden with bright, glowing lemons.  I turn and pull one from the tree, hold it in my hand, feel the life in it flowing through me.

I look back at her and she’s Sophie, just standing there, just as she had that evening, eyes wide open and bright.

“You already have,” I tell her.  I then step away from her and burst apart into a shower of yellow and gold crystals.

I bolt awake in my bed.  Sweating, still sweating, but not afraid.  The room is entirely dark.  But immediately, fatigue hits me and as I feel myself collapsing back onto the bed, I realize that it’s daytime outside the dark cocoon of my condo.  That for the first time in my vampire memory, I have awoke during the day.  The knowledge greets me just as I slip back into uncounsciousness.

Published in: on September 2, 2009 at 9:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Vision of Lemon

A looming bright yellow sun fills my view, the flames crackling noisily, with a burning roar.  The yellow brightens and deepns to gold and rays shoot out of me, consuming me, using me as fuel.  The sensation billows through every vein, every muscle, all my sinews and bones until all I am is pure nuclear combustion.  Then, I explode.  And I am nothing but ash and cinders…and a single spark.

Published in: on August 28, 2009 at 9:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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Preparations

Sophie’s List:lemons

1 Lemon
1 Orange
Large Orange juice
Lucid Dreaming by Stephen La Berge
First Aid kit (fang plugs, gauze, styptic powder)

Remember: No perfume, use all fragrance free products tonight

Morena’s List:hkpolish

ASP tactical baton, jacket pocket or holster?
HK USP 40 Pistol, holstered
Benchmade knife, pocket?
Manicure, Loreal, Fleeting
Samsara, Notes: Jasmine, Sandalwood, Rose, Narcissus, Vanilla.

Published in: on August 23, 2009 at 8:36 am  Comments (1)  
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DJB: Memoirs Volume 3: After Conclave

After a rather mundane meeting of the Conclave in which we reviewed current known population counts and several requests for migrations, I asked for a few moments with Valerian.  I didn’t expect to get them knowing he’d just recently returned from a cleansing in the Congo and had historically sought isolation after such travels.  But instead, my web call was answered and I saw Valerian wrapped up in his darkest, thickest cloak resting on his chaise.

“Good even-tide,” he spoke softly, deliberately.  A servant came into view, refilling his cup with a steaming, nearly clear liquid out of a tea kettle.  I thought I spied pine needles.

“Evening, Valerian.  How do you fair after your long journey?”

He gave me a look that reminded me who he was.  “I fair well enough.  The journey was elementary.  I’ll say this for the mutts, they have advanced the comfort of our traveling arrangements immeasurably.”  He paused for a drink, which made him vibrate slightly, before he continued.  “Seems negotiations were well-spent after all.”

“I’ll take the compliment anyway I can get it.”

He sighed, leaning back, his face somewhat flushed, fevered.  “Your contributions to the Conclave sometimes go unnoticed.  Where would we be without the secret language you helped develop which protects our communications and our council from prying, juvenile eyes?”

“It’s nice to be remembered for one’s work.”

“Consider this your favor, I don’t like showing myself at times like these.  But I trust you.  As much as I know that emotion.”  He was right, he did look ill indeed.  As soon as he finished what I now suspected was Pine Needle tea, his glass seemed magically refilled by an unseen servant.

“I’ll come to the point then.  My companion has made contact with the Vampire Psychologist as we had spoken before.”pineneedletea

He sipped.  “Indeed?  And your research?”

“She calls herself Sophie Quinn.  From what I can find, she lived in a small community in Ohio all her life until a few years ago when she left and started ministering to vampires.”  He said nothing, just sipped.  So I continued, “She claims to have done this for lifetimes.  That it’s her calling to seek balance within the vampire being.”

He stopped sipping.  He lowered his cup slowly.  Then, his fangs descended and he laughed heartily.  “Does she really say that still?”

“Still?”  I was confused.

In less than a blink, the laugh was gone, he had retracted his fangs.  He took a long sip as I could see his mind calculating.  “Make contact as we discussed.  Learn what you can.  Report back to the Conclave at next tide.”

“That’s it?”

He looked up at me.  “You were expecting something more drastic, I gather.  I’m learning the art of negotiations, my old friend.  And at my age, I’m learning what is important and what is…noise.”

“I understand.”  I didn’t.  Not really.  Valerian and I were about the same age of ancient lines that may have one time been united.  But our polarities, our mentalities, our very natures couldn’t have been more different.  Valerian volunteered for blood cleansings not out of some greater good for the human race, protecting them from the very plagues that had once ravaged through past populations.  The effect on a healthy vampire of consuming that much tainted blood was to weaken them, force them into seclusion while their bodies metabolised the viruses or toxins and made them inert.  Shadria, who ran that particular program within the Conclave, picked only the strongest and most capable vampires to do the work.  It was messy and required restraint.

No, Valerian volunteered because he was a killer.  He enjoyed it.  He missed the eras when he could go on sprees and gorge himself on so much blood his eyes would turn red from it.   But that Valerian seemed a much different one than the one across the webcam from me, drinking his tea.

He shuddered and sighed.  “No, you don’t.  You don’t understand.  Not yet anyways.”

I smiled as response.  I was about to say my farewells when he abruptly ended the call.  After every interaction with Valerian, I felt guilty for thinking the worst of him and then gullible for forgetting what he was capable of.  And ultimately, confused as to why he considered me worthy of continuing in the Conclave representation at all.  I had no horror.  I had no idea of my maker or his strain.  And therefore, no designs on bearing kindred for fear of what problems might arise.

And maybe that was where my answer lay.  Valerian had a sizable horror, somewhere on the order of 50 now accounted for.  And all of them were welcome in his circle, his seat.  Maybe what I didn’t want to admit was that Valerian was capable of change to protect his own.  Somehow, the thought chilled me more than anything else.

I finished scripting the protocols from the Conclave and went back to the fbook site of this Vampire Psychologist.  The meeting was set for tomorrow night.  If it weren’t for the preternatural state of comatose that vampires fall into during the day, there would be no way I could sleep.  No way at all.

fbook.com/vamppsych

Search: vampire age

Results: […] } vampire age but a vampire’s abilities are more a product of his maker rather than age.  However, age does speak to the maturity of the vampire, the refinement in use of his abilities, and control over the impulses to feed.  Vampires begin to mature once they are made but at a much slower rate than humans.  Vampires newly made up to approximately one hundred years old are considered youths, adolescence being between 80 and 100 years old.  Adult vampires are classified between one hundred and one thousand years old.  Vampires that have survived to be around 800 yrs old are considered elders until they reach the next phase of maturity.  Vampires older than one thousand years old are referred to as ancient and are extremely rare. 

While a vampire’s body ages so slowly as to be preserved, his mind is subject to the ravages of time.  Few vampires survive long enough to be considered ancient and often become dangerous and unpredictable as their minds struggle to control the derth of memories that no longer have clear connection to their current reality.[…]

Search: ancient vampires

Results:  […] {The mind of the vampire is subject to all the extraordinary senses the vampire possesses.  Because of this increased awareness and capacities of their minds, vampires often quickly become savants, masters of any talent they lend their time to.  But as they age, the minute details of hundreds of years of memories begin to erode their sense of currency, in some cases causing the vampires to become withdrawn into a mental world hard to penetrate.  Comatose ancients often perish from starvation. 

In other cases, the vampires act out their frustration of not being able to tell the current time from the myriad of lives they have lived in the past.  As vampires best mechanism of folding through centuries is to steal identities, as ancients, the identities become confused and hard to separate, resulting in schizophrenia and sometimes psychosis.  These vampires usually begin to threaten the societies in which they have hidden, forcing humans or other supernatural creatures to attack and kill them.

In the few documented cases of this, werewolves have often surfaced as leading excursions to eradicate the errant vampire, further perpetuating the hostilities between these two..[…]

Search: vampire sun

Results: […] { not all vampires are immediately endangered by the sun.  Of the types of vampires, blood vampires all have a high sensitivity to solar light in common, regardless of their area of origin.  Most blood vampires will burst into flames with any exposure, ultimately turning to ash from prolonged exposure.  How much sun scorching can be repaired by the vampire depends on the horror strain to which they belong. […]

Search: horror

Results: […] { A horror is a familial group of vampires, usually made up of a maker and his direct progeny, sometimes including extended progeny.  The term is also used to describe a familial line of vampires.  As vampire powers are strictly determined from a maker’s abilities, identifying the familial line or horror strain can determine what abilities the vampire has.  While it has been noted that a vampire’s abilities can grow in strength from consuming large quantities, usually a heart cycle, of a fellow vampire’s blood, it has not been observed that powers transfer from vampire to vampire.[…]

Published in: on August 14, 2009 at 8:42 pm  Comments (1)  
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