Oh goody, Seb has found me a stake. Just look at it, there is something perverse about it, with all its phallic wood grain length and sharp pointy end. It feels horrid in my hand, like holding a spider there is just something fundamentally WRONG with this thing. What’s that on the end? Is the wood darker at the tip…
The smell of brine, iodine and some kind of lime eroded rock…yeah definitely earthy in there. I’m standing high, because I can see the familiar scoop of the Eyre Peninsula tail away to the south-west and I’m eye level with the cliffs that surround the shoreline. It’s dark (Horrid mortal eyes it’s like looking through cotton wool now!) but there is a small degree of light in the sky issuing from a source behind my back. Dusk? Dawn? One of those (Uh oh).
There are silhouetted figures before me, dragging something reasonably heavy. Their movements suggest a dead-weight, a distinctive movement that seems unique to a human pulling around something dead and organic. In the poor light I notice that the source of their labour is in fact a body, a body with a clearly visible stake through its chest. As the sky lightens slightly, more detail is revealed. Gore on the t-shirt surrounding the point at which the wood penetrates her skin. The stake is sitting at a funny angle, a result of it having been plunged off centre, I am guessing to avoid the sternum and yet still puncture the heart. The stake has been inserted on the left side of the chest.
Unable to draw my eyes away, from her body, it’s skin deathly pale, a near translucent white in this enchanted light. Her face would be quite beautiful, were it not frozen in a wide stare of pain and fear. Not daring to meet that paralysed gaze, my eyes are drawn to her midriff top, her stomach bearing blood stains and bruises, her jeans torn and further blood spattered. There is no movement in this corpse, no tell-tail rise and fall of the chest, for all appearances she is dead.
The labouring figures leave her body propped-up against a rock formation, the scene punctuated with a crashing crescendo of waves from then sea many meters below.
A new figure enters my field of vision, as he stands closer his features are revealed as he bears no beanie nor hood like her carriers did. He squats down, bringing his face level with hers and his voice breaks the eerie silence like a sledgehammer, gruff and authoritive.
“You see that?” He points behind me, towards the rapidly growing light source.
“Yeah, I know you seem dead, but I know you can hear and see even with that wood in your chest”
“This is what awaits all you fuckers, light , simple, pure…light”
He stands and turns to face the light, I see his face and the glint in his eyes as he smiles wryly at me.
(That face…the club…that’s Nadine’s father…Noah)
As he finishes this last sentence the sky suddenly brightens, and I am witness to a creeping tendril of pure burning sunlight, it’s passage a hungry grasping claw upon the earth as it slips beneath my feet and creeps its way towards the hapless still form of the woman with the stake in her chest. With hushed anticipation we all watch it claw its way across the soles of her Dunlop Volleys, the pattern slowly bathed in light. Tendrils of light claw along her jeans, I watch as tendrils of smoke issues from the various holes borne by her jeans. The light continues its incessant advance, reaching her hips and slipping it’s way up her midriff, to finally kiss the exposed skin. Like some kind of giant ant placed under a magnifying glass her skin quickly blackens, smoke begins to curl from its surface as the skin visibly begins to draw taught. Cracks form in what was porcelain smooth flesh, blackened and cracked, there is a hissing sound issuing from the body now, like some kind of angry snake. Smoke is pouring from the clothing now, my view of her body mercifully obscured, as I witness lumps of black fall from her abdomen and fall to the ground with an ashen ‘plop’. There is a smell of meat, burnt and charred, oily and unpleasant. The body begins to shake and shudder as the beams of light finally reach the face…
“AGH! Get it away from me, It’s horrible, evil, bad, bad, bad.”
Freda and Seb simultaneously draw their gaze from the dropped stake to Raisa, who is rapidly recoiling from the wooden object.
The moment is interrupted with The Angels – “The Dogs are Talking”, Seb’s newly selected ringtone.
“Seb, Randal here, there has been a Kine police force dispatched to your current location. I didn’t have anyone in the area so they aren’t necessarily loyal to the Society, I would get out of there, you have about 8 minutes”.
“Time to go” Seb’s flat objective statement stirs Freda into action. With a gentleness belied by his stature, Seb hooks a large hand beneath Raisa’s shoulder and gently pulls her out of the room.
Wrapped in German leather and Vorsprung Technik the Audi A6 powers through the Northern Suburbs of Adelaide, its occupants silent in their contemplations.
“Hello Dr Freda Otto?”
“This is May Grigg, Marcus’ Sire, I was wondering if you and the other members of Scourge were available for a chat sometime this evening? I understand you must all be very busy with the events of the past 24 hours, however I feel I must express my gratitude to you all in person. I also have something to offer the three of you, something which might help your current investigation. ”
Approaching the now familiar entrance to Feminino Machismo the Scourge witness a hive of cleaning activity. Industrial heaters directed at walls and floorings, Kine mopping, wiping and polishing. A buff and gruff doorman, biceps bulging with his mopping of the dimpled Pirelli tiled flooring, takes a defensive stance as the trio fill the doorway with their imposing presence. Realising the visitors to be friends, he relaxes and encourages them to enter.
With the ambience of the club significantly robbed by the flurry of cleaning and distinct lack of near-naked bodies wrapped in leather, plastic and metal, the group quickly pass through the kine accessible areas of Feminino Machismo to knock on the door to Marcus’ sanctum.
They are greeted by Marcus, dressed in what appears to be a vested robe and sarong, both garments incredibly detailed with gold brocade. Less ostentatious yet equally eye catching is May Grigg in a stunning ankle-length dress, an elegant mixture of red and black, sporting highlights of lace.
The group are gestured to be seated in the large leather divan adjacent a large recreation of William Bouguereau’s flagellation of Christ. The painting dominates the wall, and whilst holding true to the original painting in concept, the images and colours have been subtly changed, the face of Christ now bearing a closer semblance to Marcus and with the onlookers all bearing a ghoulish and dark disposition. The shadows are darker and the blood more copious and vivid.
As all within the room settle into their respective seats, a conversation blossoms on the back of warm welcomes, praise and thanks directed at the members of the Scourge.
They sit before me these three, temporal Neonates, however there is something in the way they carry themselves…a subtle confidence . On first inspection they seem and ill-fitting to the eye, the uncouth Gangrel Childe, raw and broken in appearance, bearing his pain and mortal suffering with what can only be coined as pride. The Childe of Malkav, Raisa a curious retracted creature, near childlike in her demeanour, and yet her eyes convey knowledge far beyond her outward appearing age. She supplies me with a reluctant gaze, almost embarrassed in some ways, but I find meeting her eyes for any length of time difficult. It is as if she can pierce right through my soul to see deep within my being. Wary shall I be with that one. Finally the Doctor, rumour is that this is some kind of philosophical doctorate. Of these three she is the one I am most inclined to gravitate towards a degree of understanding. Whether it be her general worldly-ness, her somewhat exotic accent or perhaps her purposeful sense of dress (albeit quaint and rather machismo), there is something that resonates at the same frequency with my sense of self. Denial, fuelled by intellect, rebellion spawned by deep flowing and restrained passion. The Dog, The Cracked and The Scholar, three members of our society who have repeatedly put their unlives on the line for the greater good of our Society. Its time to begin to pay them back for their service to me and my Childe, lets see what they think about this offer…
May offers The Scourge her considerable talents in Telepathy. The offer is initially met with a degree of trepidation and restraint, with non-verbal communication racing back and forth between Raisa, Seb and Freda. Freda, acting as spokesperson , enquires as to why May is making such an offer and asks as to what she intends to do with the information, her conversation alluding to possible Ventrue involvement in the form of a bullying move to encourage Marcus to take on protection and/or business partnership.
Practising political correctness, May dismisses this hypothetical, and states simply that the grounds of her offer are based on a willingness to assist The Scourge in any way possible with their current investigations. She also describes a degree of curiosity at wanting to see members of the group of her Childe’s attackers.
Wishing to discuss the offer, The Scourge politely thank May for her offer and claim the need to discuss matters further before making their final decision. May is non-insistent with her offer and warmly thanks The Scourge for their time and allows Marcus to escort the group to the stairs leading out.
On returning to the A6, the group initiate a call with Sheriff Randal Shepherd.
With a brief exchange of information about events of the past few hours, Randal agree’s to meet the group at the Gangrel safe house in Panorama.
Brandishing the various spoils of their raid of the Blayne household, the Scourge and the Sheriff enter a discussion about their findings.
Randal sits with a deepening frown of concern as The Scourge detail their findings, highlighting the paramilitary nature of the training room, the deliberate anti-vampire nature of the literature and the subsequent physical evidence of this knowledge being placed into practice. A picture of a well organised vampire killing family is swiftly depicted. Randal is stunned at the level of equipment and preparedness, stunned that this had not been picked up prior to now.
The answering machine message is also discussed. Perplexing in nature, Raisa details the name Rosalie Sabiti to Randal, who departs from the room briefly to retrieve a MacBook Air from downstairs. Powering up the computer on his return, Randal spends several minutes in silence, opening older and older databases as he plumbs through the various systems. His initial search takes him down the lines of the Blayne family tree, tracing back two prior generations worth of addresses and details, including a strange entry concerning the sudden death of a Mrs Katina Blayne, grandmother of Noah Blayne. On closer inspection, Randal discovers the details of the death (having occurred over 40 years ago in 1967) to have been deleted or simply listed as ‘unavailable’ a technique utilised by secret services or the Society to hide details surrounding Kindred related suspicious deaths.
The second interesting fact derived from his database digging, is the revelation that Rosalie Sabiti is listed as a current employee of ‘Little Boy Blue’, the child depression charity/corporation of which the chairmen of the board (Basil Fridolf) was recently found dead and dumped in the river Torrens nearly four nights ago.
A wide-eyed conspiratorial stare is shared between Freda and Randal, whose thoughts automatically turn to Douglas Clarke, implied as the potential murderer of Basil Fridolf.
With all this new information being furiously churned around by The Scourge and the Sheriff, a decision is rapidly reached to employ the services of May Grigg, in an effort to add more context to these recent discoveries. Whilst Freda raises brief concerns regarding May’s as possible source of loose information, Randal quickly placates these concerns with a brief overview of May’s history and her relationship with Jean Renard and Mays traditional negative stance towards Anthea Talbot as Jean Renards’ former Kindred lover.
With a quick call to May to ascertain her immediate availability, the group arrange to meet at the safe house in Unley.
Arriving at the renovated 1800’s stone cottage in Unley in Dr Otto’s Audi A6, Randal, Freda, Seb and Raisa disembark. Randal and Seb manage the gates, allowing the black BMW 7 series carrying May Grigg access to the property.
May greets all and begs a moment of discussion prior to ‘meeting’ the Chimera captives.
Standing in the bricked in and renovated lean-too of the cottage, and standing over the concrete lidded doorway to the cellar containing the captives below, a hushed conversation is conducted. May stipulates the limitations of her powers, stating that with warning and effective training she may be blocked from probing thoughts too deeply. Her recommendations are to nominate the one you are most keen to obtain the majority of information from, and whom would have the lowest mental stamina. She also asks The Scourge and The Sheriff to nominate a list of information or questions in order of priority for her to work with, so her probing can be directed and focused.
After a short discussion a list of questions are devised and the group nominate Nadine Blayne for May’s first efforts. Seeking their final assurance this is who they wish for May to start with, in light of the limitations, The Scourge are firm in their choice and this the group open the hydraulic assisted cellar door and descend into the make-shift prison.
The bright fluorescent lit concrete starkness contrasts with the soft, relatively soothing stone and wood of the cottage proper. As I descend into the harsh luminescence, my senses are assaulted with fetid human smells. Sickly sweat, sharp ammonia, cloying pungent bacteria and fear, these animal scents provide a reminder of the ongoing fundamental differences between myself and those I now call kin.
Pathetic. They are chained to the crude, rough concrete walls, separated by several meters of space, the floor stained with their human secretions, an oily oozing of their life, a sad desperation to infiltrate this stark dwelling built for unhuman purpose with their organic being. The male sits furthest from the stair well, his breathing indicative of injury and pain, his chained detention somewhat more merciful that the rod-linked cuffed hands and feet of the female. They shift as we enter, no doubt responding to their instinctual fear of what we are, and no doubt cognizant of the fresh air, perfumes and colognes we surround ourselves with as we dance the Masquerade.
Without a word spoken, I gesture for the attending Ghoul to remove the females blindfold so that she may take in my glorious visage, a trick of animal empathy to lure her defences to brief reprise before I plumb her mind for much needed knowledge.
Hazel eyes greet me, in a face that is near shocking in its youth. Her gaze his defiance and vehement spite, a rare conviction in someone so young. Her demeanour already tells me much about wait awaits me within…have they made the right choice?
I fill the room with my being, forcing my glorious presence to resonate with the soul of the living and the emotions of the undead. I give them a taste of my beauty, a glimpse at the nightly glory that is my eternal burden. Of course she resists, initially, but her youthful soul is curious, there is much she wishes yet to see, and of course she is a woman, her female curiosity drinks deeply from my well of feminine glamour, succour to her need for idolatry of womanhood.
It is now I employ my voice, soft, soothing dripping empathy and understanding.
“I am here to ease your suffering an pain, I am here to offer you a chance at freedom, to turn the decision of those behind me to have you killed.”
For a brief second, she lets go of her formidable defences, and chooses to believe in my words, seduced by my radiant power and connection with her animal sense of self. In this second I strike, driving a spike of sharp coiled mental energy deep into her psyche. Releasing my pent up rage and frustration at the audacity of the previous actions, I force my sight into her mind and begin to claw at the abundance of memories her short life has to offer…
…A knock at the door, Damn I’m going to be late for TAFE again! Door, Screen door, delivery guy. Image of parcel addressed to ‘the residents, 3 Maynard Crescent, Parafield Gardens’. Dad’s pumped, a leadership drop! Photos of some prissy thin pale anaemic looking faggy guy, thin moustache, standing in some kind of alleyway talking to a couple of nicely buff cute men…bouncers? Elation. Fear. Defeat. Capture…
…A childhood memory. A crowded room, smells of incense, cigarette smoke and that funny herby stuff Mum, Dad and their friends smoke in that funny pipe sometimes. Holding my Mum’s hand, loving my new robes which match mum and dad’s, with the Kai-meer-ra monster on my chest. A tall man appears on the stage before us, everyone goes quiet, Daddy whispers to Mummy, ‘Ben’. Thoughts of a sandpit, red hair and freckles, smashes my sand castle sigh boys…
…”…more evil than you can imagine Nadine, and they control many things in our society, police, government, councils. Our best weapon against them is to stay off their radar, to hide and remain hidden, and to strike hard, fast and then fade away without a trace. Should that ever go wrong, we get found out or captured, we make for Nanna’s and Grand-da’s house shortly after which we will hide with our Other Aunt’s and Uncles throughout the city, we practice our hiding, it is our best defence…The Chimera has no room for those weak enough to get caught…”
…The sun! It’s rays harsh and bright, a face…achingly familiar…beautiful with its perfect pale complexion full pale red lips…flesh now darkening, splitting, lips peeling back to reveal teeth, bone, flesh inside the mouth darkening, lumps of skin dropping in greasy ashy lumps, eyes blacken, shrivel, hair smokes and briefly alights, hot, heat, penetrating sun…
My withdrawal is prompt, faced with a wall of images of my depicted death. I whisper her fate, as I hastily gather my composure, covering my shock by placing my face close to her ear, out of her field of view…of course she recoils from my words…reality is often hard to swallow for Kine in their youth…
We debate my findings, the information taken from her mind stimulating a downpour of revelation and supposition from The Scourge, The Sheriff and myself. With the taste of fresh information on their lips, I am implored to return to the fetid chamber of failed human defiance against our kind and try my luck with the male. Steeling myself, we return…
His face is a mask of pain, wrapped in a sheen of sweat, what-would-be handsome features are diminished by his poor physical state. I feel a seed of detached pleasure in his pain take root within me. His suffering soothes my slightly ruffled nerves, helping me rally my mental energies, readying myself to assault his thoughts and memories. Again, I signal for the Ghoul to remove his blind-fold allowing him to take in my Kindred beauty, and allow him to better feel the emotional warmth I am issuing forth into the room. As my power fills the room, I can feel the emotional strings draw taught amongst those in the room, five sets of eyes drawn to stare at my back, and one pair of brown eyes locked with my own, eyes filled with pain, fear and defiant acceptance…
“Come, let me ease your pain…let me take you away from here…” My voice briefly fills the room, soliciting a flinch from the restrained female a few metres to my left. His shoulders slump slightly as my melodic voice issues forth what he desires to hear and my opportunity arises…I strike…
Red raw waves of pain, broken ribs, hairline fractures in several vertebrae, a lobular lung collapse, patches of internal haemorrhaging and severe diffuse bruising across the trunk and lower back. I push past the pain, grasping hold of the tendril thread of euphoric opiates sliding through his blood and mind…
…Hips, thighs, breasts, bums, necks…(Ugh Typical mortal Man! The stereotype ever lives on, base, carnal, boring and pathetic…ah!) …No sorry Lindy can’t make it around tonight (damn gonna miss that great fucking rack) got something on, yeah Wednesday’s are generally no good for me…
…Robes, Stake, Colt, Crossbow…SMS alert, under an hour to get there! Lucky I stayed home tonight…Cars…Warehouse…Lots more Robes, Stakes, Drugs (Fuck Lawrie’s sister has come of age since last year, her bod is slamming even with that robe on! Are cousins illegal???)…Shit gotta be at least 200 people here tonight, looks like the baby boomers were correctly titled!…
…A chest of drawers opened, Draw is completely removed, base is tilted upwards and light from the room’s energy saver globe sends a shaft of light into the space…the space is filled with Australian and American notes, there are other documents in the false bottom, as well as a scrunched up dark satin like ball of material with something ridged wrapped up in it, the thin cylindrical shaping parts of the fabric where it nears the surface…A mail looking cardboard satchel containing a mixture of notes is upended and tipped into the space, at least 4-5 large wads of money fall into the space…Another month in paradise…
…SMS Alert, Wednesday 5th Aug 2009…shit that’s the third one this year…day-um, I’m gunna have to call it here, and I was having such an awesome run with my luck tonight, and I think I was in with a chance with this total babe of a Dealer…Swig of something smooth and malty, an alcoholic fire blossoms in my throat and stomach…glass down, Sitting on two Tens, I call for a third looking to sink or swim…slut-red nailed hands slap down an Ace next to my tens…Best charming smile and wink, collect chips and regretfully walk…three in a fucking year, there must be something big coming…let’s hope Nadine is out for some sport with us all tonight, I could handle watching that bod in action any which way (Unsavoury thoughts)…
Filled to the brim with innuendo and banal singular focus of the flesh and unwilling to saturate my own thoughts with these base animalistic desires long left behind, I untangle his psyche from his, allowing the waves of pain to splash back in amongst his thoughts, my escape quick, the harsh smells and stark bright concrete replacing a life of thought drowned in sex, steroids, drugs and violence…
The final series of revelations fall upon their shoulders like a judge’s gavel punctuating the passing of sentence. My words rain upon them like blows, with different levels of dawning realisation painted on their various masks. There is a deadly, deadly threat to our society, breeding, growing and thriving beneath our noses. It has been there for many decades…a terrorist movement far deadlier in ramifications to our kind than any militaristic mortal based sect…a deadly hand grenade, it’s pin removed and quite possibly about to be released…