REDEMPTION - Blood Bond
by ‘Teresa Devereux’
Having been told that Anastasie went to artistic venues, I thought perhaps a call to my friend Jane Grimble from the library may prove fortuitous. Jane often attended such gatherings, and would probably know about some of the upcoming events in the city. My hopes were dashed. Her extension phone was on message bank, meaning she wasn’t working. It was late, almost eleven, but Jane often worked late when the new shipments arrived. That was how I had developed my friendship with her. We were often the only staff, other than cleaners, working that late at night.
As I told the others I couldn’t contact Jane, I was suddenly struck by a brilliant idea. The newspaper had an entertainment section, which had articles about upcoming gallery openings and the like. Flicking through the pages, I found an exhibition starting on Friday night,... tomorrow. It was entitled ‘Still Life’, a series of photographs produced by a young avant guard artist. It was a possible lead.
Van Myers still needed to feed, so we headed to one of his haunts, a night club aptly named ‘The Pulse’. He rapidly found a young male, who was to later became his meal. As a way of making conversation with him, Van Myers asked him if he knew of any interesting gallery openings coming up. He only mentioned the one we already knew about, so Van Myers asked him to go outside for a minute with him.
He left me at the bar with Marie, and I was a little unsure what to do. Marie sighed at me in exasperation.
“Why don’t you dance. Have some fun!”
I watched her walk away, quickly grabbing an unsuspecting man and dragging him to the dance floor with her. I looked around, a little bewildered. Tentatively, I approached a handsome man at the bar, and asked him if he wanted to dance. He looked me up and down, and over to his friends. Without a word, he smirked, shook his head, and turned back to the bar.
I couldn’t believe how completely rude he had been. Obviously, chivalry was a long dead concept to him. I felt plain and unattractive. Mostly I felt angry, at myself more than anything. So much for Marie’s suggestion to ‘have fun’.
At least I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself. Van Myers walked back in from the alley, with the young man following him groggily back into the club. Marie joined us, and after placing the man down at a booth seat, we left.
We returned to Van Myers’ apartment to discuss what our plan was going to be for tomorrow night. I am embarrassed to admit my vanity, however my initial concern was what to wear. I didn’t have anything suitable for a gallery opening. Van Myers again demonstrated his influence by making a call, and arranged for one of the upmarket stores in the city to remain open late the next night.
“The store will be open until 8pm, so that you can both get something .......appropriate.”
He seemed to accentuate the last word while looking at Marie.
It was exciting, going to such an expensive fashion house. Marie and I were fussed over by the couturier. Finally, I selected a pale gold gown that seemed to highlight the slight blonde hint in my brown hair. Marie’s dress was very becoming, even if it was a little high in length, and low at the bodice. Van Myers graciously offered his gold Amex card to cover the outrageously high price tags of our outfits.
We arrived in Van Myers black Jag‚ at the address given for the gallery opening. We found it was in fact an old warehouse. A little odd, but then most artists are renown for their eccentricities. A large African American man in a black suit stood at the door. We entered, to find everyone else present dressed in a style of ‘uptown grunge wear’. None of us were expecting that, and we looked at each other in embarrassment. It was too late now to gracefully exit, as it seemed every person in the room had stopped what they were doing, and had turned to face us. We raised our eyebrows in defeat, and walked into the crowd.
As I looked around the room, I realised why the exhibition was entitled ‘Still Life’. The large photographs displayed stillborn babies, propped into ghastly poses. I was repulsed by the whole disturbing reality of what this so called ‘artist’ had portrayed. I felt sick to my stomach.
Not wanting to draw attention to ourselves (a little late for that I thought), we split up. I tried to avert my eyes from the walls, and instead began looking for Anastasie. I couldn’t see anyone that fitted her description, but as I scanned the room, my eyes fell onto......Michael! He had his back to me, and was talking to a group of ladies. I was careful to walk behind other people, in case he turned and saw me. I looked around the room, trying to indicate to the others of Michael’s presence. I saw Marie, who was staring at the pictures on the walls with a blank expression on her face. She began to look from one picture to another, as an expression of horror crossing her face. She was spinning around, looking at the pictures, becoming more and more panicked. Suddenly, she ran out through the crowd to the door.
Following as fast as I could, I found her outside leaning up against the Jag, screaming out in sheer terror. I grabbed her on each arm to try and calm her down. My hands slipped from her skin, and as I looked at my hands, I saw they were covered in blood. I don’t know where it came from, as Marie didn’t have blood on her at all. I looked down at my hands again, and they were clean? I felt momentarily disturbed and confused. People were gathering outside looking at us, so I wretched open the back door to the car and pushed her forcefully inside. She was still screaming, but I noticed now that she was screaming words from some foreign language, over and over again.
I looked around trying to find Van Myers, hoping he had noticed what was going on, and had followed us outside. As I looked around, a black Ducati motorbike screeched to a halt in front of the car. I recognised the rider from the Annubi’s description. It was Anastasie. She dismounted, and slowly began walking over to the Jag. She was listening intently to what Marie was yelling out, like she could understand what she was saying. Suddenly she spun her head to the warehouse door. I followed her gaze, to find she was staring at Michael. She turned and jumped back on the bike, spun it 360 degrees, and did a wheel stand at high speed up the road.
As I watched her ride off into the distance, Van Myers rushed to my side.
“We really have to go....NOW!”
He answered me by getting into the drivers seat, and starting the car.
Leaving the ogling crowd behind us, I began to relax a little. Marie had finally quietened down to a low muttering. I turned to check on her in the back seat, and noticed a car following us. Startled, I noticed it was a black Porche, just like the one the assassin that tried to kill Van Myers had been driving. I told him about the car, and he made a few turns to confirm it was following. Sure enough, it was still behind us. Van Myers sped up, and made several turns in succession to try and lose the Porche. He managed to shake her off, but in the confusion he became lost in a very rough part of town. As he made his way back to an area he recognised, Marie went quiet. I looked over my shoulder at her, and she stared back at me.
“Take me to Tabitha”.
I didn’t answer straight away, trying to figure out why she wanted to see her. She said the same thing again and again, getting louder each time. I looked to Van Myers, who nodded. In exasperation, I told her “Okay, we’ll take you to her”.
We arrived at the university, and rapped on Tabitha’s office door. Maximillian answered it, and looked at us suspiciously. I gave him a general overview of the night’s excitement, as he eyed Marie. She was shaking, and glancing around her as if she was afraid the very shadows were stalking her. I stopped talking, and looked at Maximillian hopefully. He stood back, and invited us in.
“Tabitha is busy at the moment, studying a book, and cannot be disturbed”.
I looked past the slightly ajar door to her private study, and saw her bent over a large tome.
He motioned to a chair for Marie to sit in, and asked her what had happened. She began telling him about a hallucination she’d had at the gallery, where the dead babies in the photos had begun looking at her. Then when she reached the outside, she became lost in a wakeful nightmare, all reality around her disappearing.
She was carrying a bucket of sand, when the earth cracked, and out of the chasm outstretched hands began reaching for her. On the ends of the fingers were the faces of people she knew.
Maximillian looked at her intently, and asked her what she thought it meant.
“I don’t know, that’s why I’m here”.
We all tried to postulate what it could have meant, but didn’t come to any conclusion. I suggested that perhaps Marie could be hypnotised again, where she may remember more.
Maximillian took her into a trance state easily, having already induced one with her before. He took her back to the chasm, to try and find more clues. She said she heard the words “join me”, then it began raining blood. Marie began reciting words in a foreign language, the same words I had heard her screaming outside the gallery.
Poor Marie seemed terrified, so Maximillian brought her back out of the trance.
As Marie was coming back to her senses, Tabitha entered the room. She stared at Marie for a moment, and grabbed a handful of rose petals from her desk. She crushed the petals in her hand, allowing the pieces to fall in front of Marie. Tabitha lunged forward, and grabbed the necklace from around Marie’s neck. It wasn’t visible under her shirt, but somehow Tabitha knew it was there.
“Do you know who gave this to you, and more importantly, why?”
Marie paused, and gave us a questioning look. I nodded to her, and she answered.
“Yes. Vissago gave it to me, and he told me why.”
Tabitha looked thoughtful for a moment, then spoke carefully.
“What you were saying translates to ‘join me’. The language you were speaking is Sumarian. It‚s an ancient language, the one that was spoken in the second city. Very few of us even know of its existence, and fewer still can speak it.”
We were looking at each other with blank expressions on our faces. It seemed none of us had any idea what she was talking about. She eyed us, as a teacher would look upon naďve students. Pacing slowly around the room, she told us about vampiric history, and the origins of our ancestors. There was so much information, I strain now to recall it all. She spoke of the second city, and how vampires ruled over the mortals there. Then the time of the Elders, called ‘Antediluvians’. When Tabitha had finally finished speaking, we were all looking dumbfounded. She indicated to Maximillian, who stood and followed her into the study, closing the door behind them.
One of Marie’s talents is the ability to hear what would normally be inaudible to the rest of us. She listened intently for a moment, then turned to us anxiously.
“They know. They know what I did.”
She was referring to how she had killed one of our kind, by completely draining his blood. It was considered to be one of the worst sins a vampire could commit, punishable by death if discovered.
They walked back into the room, and Tabitha addressed us all.
“We won’t tell the Prince about her being a diablerist, on the condition that when you find Vissago, you tell us. We have our own reasons for finding him too.”
We looked at each other, then we all nodded in agreement. Maximillian led us to the door in silence.
In the car, we discussed the idea of setting up a false haven to trick Vissago. We knew that Marie couldn’t know anything further about our plans after tonight, as Vissago had read her thoughts before. Between Van Myers and myself, we could dominate her and implant false thoughts that the haven is in fact real. We randomly picked a name of someone we didn’t know. Mica Benedict would be the owner of our fake haven.
We went to Father Luther’s church, one of the few places we felt safe from Vissago’s reach. Luther and Marie seemed more uneasy around each other than usual, and I kept a watchful eye on both of them. Van Myers called a real estate agency for them to look for an apartment complex for him to purchase.
Van Myers went for a walk on his own in the church grounds, in order to get out of range of Marie’s hearing. I managed to join him outside briefly, so that we could talk. From now on, anything referring to the setting up of our false haven has to be kept from Marie. He said he had arranged to view two apartment blocks that sounded appropriate for our needs. After joining the others, Van Myers stated he had some business matters to attend to, and would be back in two hours.
When he returned, he managed to tell me secretly that he had arranged to purchase a block of five apartments. He had even called a minor employee of his company to oversee tradesmen during renovations. We had to have security cameras and alarm systems installed, black tinting and shutters on the windows, and a way of trapping Vissago inside one of the apartments when we were finally ready to spring our trap.
The eager employee was even going to live in one of the units, free of course, so that we could have someone coming and going, giving it a ‘lived in’ look. We planned to stake out the apartments with Marie, and through our dominate powers, gradually build up a plausible history. That way, when Vissago dominates Marie, he will believe our ruse.
It will take some time to put the whole plan into effect, several months in fact, but at least we have a start.
Story 2 - “Blood Bond”
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