DJB: Memoirs, Volume 3: It’s in the way you use it

It had a been a few days after Morena’s phone call, after I knew that another vampire had attacked her and Sophie, that I called a special meeting of Conclave. It was the first time I had done such a thing, taken such an active role in anything to do with Conclave besides seeking members out to clarify comments or opinions voiced.

I explained recent events, showing them the police interest in recent disappearances of a corpse from the morgue and a businessman. I even used Sophie…I mean, the Vampire Psychologist’s UVA scale to impress upon Conclave how serious things were getting.

While the other vampire elders seemed agitated by events, wondering how things had so quickly changed, Valerian was strangely silent during their escalating debate. Should they send in the sanitation team? Or simply a spider team to collect information? Teng-Wen voiced the opinion that the region, which had always been under populated with our kind, was due a surge and a curate should be assigned immediately.

The dark, round room fell into quiet at the suggestion. Valerian, dressed in velvet black ceremonial robes, took a long, measured sip of his tea before setting the cup and saucer aside. He waved his servant Aubry forward, whispered a few words, and Aubry went to fetch more tea. He then cleared his throat for effect before speaking.

“Whenever, wherever she goes, vampires seem to congregate. It is nothing to be alarmed about.”

Teng-Wen, our only Jiang-Shi in Conclave, a calculating and dangerous member, pursed his lips to contain a retort. Aubry returned with more tea and while Valerian busied himself with the newly refreshed cup, Teng-Wen spoke a careful crafted reply: “If this is so, perhaps it is time again to rid us of her unnatural influence. Only this time, we should seek ways to make it permanent.”

Valerian shot a dark and glittery gaze at the other elder. “You presume to know of such a way? You have passed through death and know its secrets?”

Teng-Wen fell silent, knowing he had been outmaneuvered. But Valerian was not done with him.

“You do not know the deaths she has endured and yet, she rises again, like the Phoenix, the same and yet different, her memories somehow intact.” He let out a single meek laugh. “More a cockroach, an irritant. Forgive me for overstating her importance. We have not seen her threat, even lifetime after lifetime. She is merely to be observed and who better than Jesper to do so.”

Galscythe, one of the oldest, her age reaching almost into ancient, stepped forward. She seldom spoke, some thought because her mind was becoming to frail but no one would dare, in her presence, allow that thought breath. “It would be prudent to be sure this time. We’ve seen how a lone orphan can create a tide of blood.”

Valerian sighed deeply. He didn’t like to disagree with the others, didn’t like agitation among the ranks. But he hadn’t garnered as much respect within Conclave without a clear series of successes in navigating our kind through the modern age.

“I will not send any more of our kind into a were stronghold without knowing our proper action.” He then raised his eyes to me. “I trust with guidance, Jesper can identify the problem and we can then discuss what proper action is required.”

Galscythe stepped back lightly. Teng-Wen bowed in humbling agreement. The debate was over.

But there was no specific guidance I received from Valerian. When Conclave ended, he remained until the others left and then he too departed, with no further word to me on what he expected me to do.

So I put a call into Aubry, his servant. There was a question I needed answering before I proceeded. Generally, it is considered a break of manners to use one’s vampire abilities against other Conclave vampires except in sanctioned combat. And by extension, servants and companions were due the same courtesy.

“Hello?”

When Aubry answered the phone, I appeared standing there in the room just behind him. He heard me like a whisper in his mind, just below the creaks and moans of this ancient house on Na Příkopě. “Hello, Aubry. What is the tea that your master takes?”

Dazed, he let his arm drop the phone from his ear.  He pirouetted towards my presence. “Pine needle tea.”

“Curious. Why does he take it?”

“It’s a curative. To keep the balance.”

As quickly as I had affected him, I released him, retracting my presence back through the phone line and spoke simply. “Valerian had no particular orders for me, eh, Aubry?”

“Oh, Mr. Jesper. No, he left no instructions for you except to say he appreciates the call, you are to report once you’ve made proper contact.” He paused, as if trying to remember his instructions. My doing. He was still shaking off the cobwebs of my affecting him. “You haven’t contacted her yet, have you?”

I thought of every manner of response, remembering his master’s words at Conclave. And then I lied. “No, Aubry. Not yet.”

“Well, then. I will tell my master so. Do you have any other message?”

“Thank you, Aubry, no. That’s all.”

I hung up. Pine needle tea contained high concentrations of Vitamin C. More than six regular lemons. Something told me there was again much more to my Vampire Psychologist than previously thought. I did not know the natural of her acquaintance with Valerian, the most powerful and influential member of our government, but she had made an impact. One worth risking the penalties of bad manners to uncover.

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Published in: on January 9, 2010 at 11:04 pm  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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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.

Time behind the Iron Curtain

It is observed several moments after the Russian teenager leads the young Asian man and the dark curly haired woman out of the deli that the old lady’s other granddaughter comes in, wearing the same gold lame halter top and black sequined miniskirt from the night before.  She is carrying her four inch gold heels and her black hose has gone missing somewhere.  Her face is stained with day old mascara and fire engine red lipstick. 

But she seems blissfully happy and carefree.  It even takes her several minutes of her grandmother’s rapid tirade to goad her into a rebuttal, her accent thicker than her younger sister’s.

“You stupid stubborn old hag!  We are in America now.  And I’m 18.  I can do whatever I want.”

She strides past her angry grandmother to the back room, ignoring the bit about living under her roof, on and on.  Usually that is enough for her grandmother to get it out of her system.  But she pursues.  But before her grandmother can reload, she brushes her long dirty blond locks aside and gently caresses the two puncture wounds at side of her neck.

“Oksana!  You have been with him.”

The defiant girl looks up as her grandmother stares in fear and starts to make the sign of the cross.  She continues to make the sign, backing out of the room, shaking her head.

“Superstitious old bag.”  She looks at herself in the mirror, inspecting the wounds with red lacquered nails bitten to the quick.  They are angry red, probably from a second helping.  Maybe a third.  She can’t quite remember.  Maybe the vodka.  At least, she thinks she had had a drink.

But what does it matter?  She’s met her Prince Charming.  And he drives a big shiny expensive car.

She snickers.  “What a good night.”  She starts to hum a tune as she sways in front of the mirror, admiring her neck.  Soon it turns to laughter, even as she begins to scratch at her arms, suddenly itchy all over.

Vampire Factbook: Glossary excerpt

Jugular Response:  Like the patellar reflex in humans.  Vampires are particularly vulnerable at the neck and usually respond in either avoidance or aggression with attempts to touch them there.  A rough scale of 0 – 5 may indicate overall inherent aggression, with 0 being no reaction at all and 5 being a kill response.   Test still in research stages due to seriousness of level 5 response.

………….

Perfects:  Three potential types that throughout the vampire’s lifetime are perfectly fitted and karmically bound to fulfill a certain role.

  • Prey – A human that the vampire will risk anything, including death, to kill.  This could be to settle an old score from their human hyenalifetime.  This is unusally characterized by the vampires complete refusal to feed from that human, even if injured, much like lions choosing to kill but not eat hyenas.
  • Predator – A human who will stop at nothing to destroy the vampire, so much so that the vampire may actually fear them on a subsequent reintroduction.  Humans that are successful at vanquishing the vampire oftentimes become professional vampire hunters.  (See Emmerick)
  • Partner – A human that develops a permanent attachment to the vampire.  Oftentimes romantic but not necessarily so.  This bond does not last if the human is turned into a vampire.

…………

UVA:  Unidentified Vampire Activity, this is the score of an area’s exposure to unexplained phenomanon caused by vampire activity.  A high score inticates either an area rife with vampires or an area frequented by a young, inexperienced, crazed, or insane vampire.  Current formula measures number of suspected activities per year with 0-4 being benign, 5-10 being of interest, 10 – 25 being suspect, and 25+ being overload.

Published in: on August 2, 2009 at 3:47 pm  Comments (2)  
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Bellevue Police Blotter

June 18

Malicious mischief: Unknown time, 3500 block 120th Avenue Southeast. An unoccupied under-construction house was shot at by someone with a pellet gun causing more than $2,000 of damage to the property.

Self storage burglary: 5 p.m., 12800 block of Northup Way. Four different units at a self storage facility were entered after someone cut the locks. Total loss was worth more than $1,000.

Suspicious Death:  The body of young woman was found in a dumpster of an abandoned lot, 10600 block of of Main St.  Signs of assault were apparent on the body and an identification is pending.  There are no suspects yet and the case was under investigation, police said.

June 19

Cell phone theft: Unknown time, 2000 block of Bellevue Square. Three cell phones were stolen from a T-Mobile display. Total loss was more than $1,000.

June 20

Assault: 9 p.m., Southeast Eastgate Way/Richards Road. Two juvenile females assaulted one another.

June 21

Domestic disturbance: 4:30 p.m., 15800 block of Northeast 15th. A husband and wife were involved in a verbal and physical dispute resulting in an arrest after the husband assaulted his wife.

DJB: Memoirs, Volume 3: The Thief

Another night, more unease.  I’m not even sure that’s the right word for it.  I’m sure the dreams are mostly to blame.  I called Morena when I woke; she had willing victims for me.  But I wanted to hunt.  I needed to.  Been awhile.  And I’ve been avoiding her.  She’s been sensing my unease and I can’t have that.  She’s too new at this.

craneSo I went out into the night.  Bellevue.  Still wondering what keeps me here.  Ballard made more sense.  This place is half ghost town, half development project.  Cranes litter the skyline.  They make good vantage points for the flight enabled.  But this night, I want to walk.  It’s balmy but cooled quickly.  I pass by the local watering holes for locals escaping miserable jobs,  travelers looking for companionship or entertainment (hopefully in a soft, willing package),  and strangely, the shopping throngs.  The mall is close to my condo.  I always felt it gave me some options. 

I used to frequent the bars most nights before I’d met Morena.  The bartenders liked how I attracted good tips for them and the waitress, well, they liked to tease.  They perceived me as no threat.   I’m naturally shy, quiet, but observant.  They see me watching; they want to know more.   Many a feeding started that way.  But the scene became the same and the cranes started giving me headaches and I went back to Ballard for a spell.  And that’s where I met Morena.  We saved a girl together.  Well, I thought it only gentlemanly of me to let her think she’d helped. 

hotelIt was a mistake and I know it, bringing her into this world of mine.  But she showed no fear, seemed to absorb the thought of me being a vampire like she’d known it right away.  She just got what I was.  It was refreshing.  It was addicting.  And now I feel guilty about it.  She’s beautiful, vibrant, vastly intelligent, and could wind up a serious threat.  She’s the first human in a long time that I’ve actually thought could end me.  And I’ve brought her into this world. 

I stopped at the alleyway behind the hotel.  There’s a man riffling through the garbage.  I took in a breath, feel the unspeakable odors of the human refuse enter into me, but underneath it, clean washed skin.  The slightest hint of a generic brand soap.  Dandruff shampoo.  Underarm deodorant.  I headed down the alleyway in a flash, standing just behind the man before he knows.  He couldn’t hear me or see me yet.  He climbed down from the waste container, hand full of soiled receipts, tossed bills.  He was a credit card thief.  Maybe identity theft.  There’s a special hell in the vampire world for humans who steal identities.

I grabbed him, relishing in that moment the release of the pent up energy.  I accidentally broke his arm whenbending his arms back after he tried to hit me .  I took no effort to mask my intentions; my intention was to terrorize him, to feel like Vampire.  I drained him enough so he’d pass out.  But just before, I held him up, extended my fangs completely, darkened my face.  Then I threw him against the waste container.  Kicked him where he fell.

Then I grabbed his attention and wouldn’t let him look away.

“You’ll live to forget.”

Excerpt from “Local Live” filming on location, EO bar

timestamp 07/15/09 22:32:09

Tall man, black jacket, talking to middel-aged woman at end of the bar.  She slips him a card, leaves.
Bartendar approaches end of bar, gets waved away, keeps eye on Black Jacket.

Black Jacket, turns suddenly to leave, bumps into young, tight-fitted, leggy blonde.  She angrily spats at him.  He continues to block her path.  She says something else, still angry.  He leans over her.  She visible quakes, fear first then seems to relax as he speaks.  She slowly raises her head to look up at him directly.  He speaks again, taking her arm.  Her face shows rapt interest and she nods.

He looks up past her.  Three other similarly clad young women are just coming in.

He says something else to her.  She turns ans waves her friends over, excited.  At first, they approach cautiously but within a few moments, he has his arms around the group of women who are embracing him back.  They leave frame, heading towards hotel elevators.

crimescene

Seattle Getabout: Weekly Jive

Hot Spot for Week of  July 13th – 19th

……..
Weds July 15th

DOWNTOWN
6PM – midnight
EO Bar – Wayne Hotel
DJ Mixings of Lady Shady  http://www.earthocean.net/wbar.html#

BALLARD
The Mystic
Happy Hour
All Draft Beers $3, PBR $1 special
Musical Performance by the Dandy Cakes

………
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Sharpfish Culinary Institute – Request information

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