by ‘Teresa Devereux’
On rising, Van Myers rang the investigators he had employed, to put out a reward for information leading to the whereabouts of Kyle. While they didn’t have anything concrete, there had been several reports of persons fitting his description. They all seemed to be centred in one of the seedy districts, even more lower class than Marie’s normal haunts. We caught a cab, as Van Myers didn’t want to take one of his vehicles into the area, lest it be stripped while unattended.
The cab driver dropped us off on one of the main streets, and we walked towards where a crowd had gathered. There was a card game going on, where a man behind a makeshift cardboard podium shuffled 3 cards, with the players trying to guess the location of the chosen card. It held little interest for me, so I wandered off to the side, standing near the corner of an intersecting street. I surveyed the area and people lazily, not taking a lot of interest in any one thing. I felt slightly uneasy, knowing the locals eyed us with suspicion, yet I didn’t feel threatened by any of them.
I heard a car nearing, and a voice yelled out “wass’up mother F#*%er!” As I spun around, I saw a blue BMW coming down the street, with gang members leaning out of the window. I vividly recall the shirt he was wearing, which had ‘Resin Dogs’ emblazoned across the front. He was holding an automatic gun, which he began firing at me. The bullets sprayed around me as I yelled “lookout!”, and threw myself to the ground. The people around me were screaming and running in all directions, frantically trying to get away.
I looked up from the ground to see Marie draw her gun. She began to run towards the vehicle, when she tripped over the body of an unconscious man lying on the ground in front of her. She fell with a sickening crack, as her head hit the pavement. She had knocked herself out, and lay lifeless in a heap.
The drive-by was over in a matter of seconds, yet it felt like several minutes had elapsed. In the flurry of people, I saw Van Myers on the ground. We both scrambled to Marie’s side. We shook her, trying to get her awake, in case the car turned around for another attack. Her eyelids flickered, and she moaned the word “soon..”. Shaking her again, she finally opened her eyes and sat up. She was a little dazed, but seemed fine otherwise.
After ascertaining we were all OK, we walked rapidly around the corner and away from the scene. There were several people that had been hit by the onslaught of bullets, and while I felt horribly for them, self preservation pushed me onwards away from the scene. I could hear the moans of the injured, and voices calling out for ambulances. I had to close my ears to it all, and kept walking in the other direction.
We walked quite a way, until we felt the threat was over. Discussing who it could have been that called for the shooting, we figured it was because we were getting close to finding Kyle, and the ‘Resin Dogs’ must have been either his gang, or a rival gang? We would have to try and find their headquarters, if we had any hope of finding Kyle.
We decided to head to one of the local bars, and do some of our own investigating. As we walked along the dingy street, a dark figure approached on the opposite side of the road. His head was bowed, and he was hunched over, like a man defeated by life. He was dressed in black pants and jacket.
As we got closer to him, I noticed he was in fact, a priest! Marie was eyeing him strangely, and said there was something strange about him. Not only that, she said he was a Vampire! Her casual remark about his state still left a bitter taste in my mouth. She said it like vampires were no big thing. I struggle to remember a time when this was absurd to me, and I realise, to my despair, that I couldn’t. On a whim, we crossed the road towards him, thinking perhaps he could give us some information about where we could find the local gangs?
He stopped as we approached, and looked at us with apprehension. As his eyes met mine, I felt something pass between us. To my shock I noticed that my heart had started beating! I looked at Marie and she looked back at me. She felt it too! I felt drawn to this man, as though he could stare into my soul, yet his eyes weren’t hard, not like Van Myer’s, but filled with an intensity that left me feeling both guilty and redeemed. Almost as if the horror I have witnessed in the past few weeks paled in the wake of this man’s tortured memory. His voice, barely above a whisper and measured as though he chose his words carefully, almost broke my heart. What pain had this man endured? What terror had those steel blue eyes seen?
Van Myers introduced himself. If he felt anything from this man he gave no indication and asked if he knew anything about the local gangs. The priest, who was called Luther, indicated that he could take us to the hang out of the gang ‘Prophet’s’. I recalled Christos mentioning that had been the name of the gang he used to ‘run with’. It seemed that Kyle had taken it over now. The priest seemed confused by Van Myer’s and our reactions to him. Almost as though he was somehow unaware of his condition.
I introduced myself to the priest politely, and said “you seem confused and unaware of your current state in it’s entirety. If you were to help us, we would gratefully give you some information to help you with your new ....life.” He seemed even more guarded, and his eyes reflected his disappointment that there were others like him. I admit I am at a loss on how to feel about this man. His gaze is unnerving yet compassionate, and his manner, soft and gentle. I am not religious by any means, yet I feel a spiritual comfort in this man.
Luther led us to a run down residential ‘project’ I was revolted despite myself at the conditions some people were living in. A far cry from my ‘silver spoon’ childhood. On a graffitied stoop a man who seemed to be dealing drugs, with several gang bangers milling around him, caught Van Myers’ attention. He told Marie and I to stay where we were, and he went up to talk to the men.
The conversation seemed to go badly, and the dealer suddenly pulled out a hand gun, and shot Van Myers five times at close range. They were all laughing coldly, but soon stopped when Van Myers stood up and stared at them menacingly. The men all began pulling guns of various types from under their clothing, and a chorus of confused shouts echoed across the now empty street. Van Myers wheeled on the men, fangs bared and growling deep within his chest. The men were terrified. I’ve never seen Van Myer’s or any other vampire do this before, and secretly I was glad he didn’t shift his gaze to us.
Luther began to walk over. I wanted to stop him, but his stride possessed a sense of purpose. Van Myers grabbed the leader that had shot him, and demanded he tell him how to find Kyle. The man whimpered like a school boy, and could only stutter a few words out. He only had Kyle’s mobile phone number, so that would have to do for now. I was shocked that Van Myers would so blatantly disclose his true nature in such a public place, yet I doubted the gang members would be telling anyone of their encounter in a hurry. Luther arrived on the somewhat comical scene. I couldn’t hear what was said, but with both Van Myer’s and Luther's’ presence, there was no room for doubt about who was in charge.
Thankfully the priest offered for us to stay at his church for the day, as sunrise neared. He had a sympathetic ally there that would harbour us undisturbed until sunset.
The church was old cathedral that while it had seen better days, stood proudly in the poor environs. The twin bell towers seemed to reach into Heaven itself, while the large stained glass windows above the entrance, dark at this time, carried within it a quite dignity that preserved it all these years. Luther explained that a small but faithful congregation gathered here, but spiritual salvation seemed to weigh less on the minds of the people now than years gone before. We walked around the side of the church, and secretly I was glad we didn’t have to walk in the front doors. I felt somehow that we would not have been admitted, yet I know from my readings that this is not the case. Still, I was relieved when we came to the door that led to a basement. Once inside, Father Luther recounted the story of his embrace.
Whilst in the confessional box, a vampire confessed his countless sins to the Father, and asked for absolution for those and the one he was about to commit. He smashed through the dividing screen and grabbed the terrified priest. He embraced him right there in the church. Poor Luther was given no information about his state as his sire ran from the church never to be heard from again. Since that time, only a few weeks, Father Luther had existed on the meagre sustenance gained from stray animals. He had confided in one of the older priests at the church, who would also provide a small amount of bottled blood from time to time. Luther didn’t know where or who it came from, and chose not to ask.
After hearing the Priest’s story, I wasn’t sure who to pity more, him or his Sire. We were all fatigued, and in deep thought. We bedded down to slept upon dingy mattresses on the partially dirt floor. Not the best accommodations, but safe none the less.
Van Myers called one of his associates, a Detective Kasarov at the police station. He arranged for him to triangulate the mobile phone number we had for Kyle. After a short while, he called back to say it had been narrowed down to ‘Heart ‘o’ the City Motel’. Father Luther was familiar with the motel’s location, and offered to take us there.
On the way to the motel, we came across a few gang members congregating on a vacant lot. They were wearing jackets with ‘Resin Dogs’ on them. I realised they were the same gang that had shot at us earlier. Lo and behold, who should be sitting on top of a hummer chatting, than Felicity. While seeing her there was a surprise, I was not surprised to find her involved in such low life.
I am still angry and upset by her actions the other night. How dare she try and put the blame of Jan’s death on Gordon and I. Then to lie to the very people she is supposed to be the closest to, her family. She had preached to me about the importance of family, yet she didn’t seem to hold the same belief. The physical wounds she inflicted on me have healed, but I think the emotional ones will take much longer.
Unbelievably, Van Myers suggested we try and get the gang to help us. Why they would be compelled to, I didn’t know. Van Myers said “if they think it’s about a gang war with their rivals, ‘The Prophets’, they may want in. As Van Myers and Marie went to get out of the car, they stopped and looked at me. “You should probably stay here, out of harms way.” Despite the anger I felt, I had no desire to confront Felicity one to one again. She was a very capable fighter, and I was no match for her, as I had already found out the hard way. I contented myself by glaring out the window at her.
I couldn’t hear what was being said, but I could see he leader shaking his head at Van Myers in disagreement. Whatever had been discussed had not convinced the leader enough, and they headed back to the car. As we left, Van Myers said “they won’t help. We’re on our own.”
We pulled up outside a motel that looked like it probably charge their rooms by the hour. The neon sign outside had more parts broken than working, and it made a buzzing sound as it flicked on and off. I was loathe to even touch the door handle as we entered, it was such a grubby establishment.
We milled around the foyer for a minute, when Van Myers suggested we ring Louis, and get some backup. It seemed like the best idea yet, as none of us had proven to be experts in combat. We had found Kyle, let the Prince’s men deal with him now.
Van Myers approached the desk clerk, and asked him which room Kyle was in, under Van Myer’s persuasion, he told us he was in 3b. Father Luther suggested he go up and have a look around, as they wouldn’t recognise him. On returning, he said that he had knocked on the door, and gave them a story about losing his way, and that he was looking for a different room. He said he didn’t think any of them matched the description we had given him of Kyle. Van myers returned to the desk clerk, and told him to give us the room key for 4b, located above Kyle’s room.
The rooms were certainly as bad as I had expected, and hadn’t had a refit of new furnishing since it was built. The carpet was grubby, and the furniture was barely holding together. I didn’t even want to dwell on the state of the mattress....
Van Myers suggested the Father hold him over the small balcony by his ankles, so he might look into the room below. The priest had gently lowered Van Myers down, but now Van Myers was yelling out to be pulled up fast. As I looked out, a white mist wafted up through the grill of the mesh balcony floor. Van Myers and Father Luther stepped back into the room, trying to get away from the mist that was following them inside.
As we watched transfixed, the mist began to transform into the body of a man, starting from the feet. In a matter of seconds, Kyle stood before us. He looked straight over at me, and said “I’m glad you could come. It saves me looking for you.”
I was puzzled by his statement. Was he referring to all of us being there, or me specifically? He had been gazing directly at me when he said it, yet I had no idea what importance I would have to him?
All in a rush, there were bullets flying around the room. Kyle managed to dodge them, and moved at an amazingly fast speed. He was in front of the Priest, when he reached down through the floor! We were all struck dumb in horror as his hands materialised above Luther’s head and grabbed his face! I’ve never been more terrified in all my life. It was some sort of black magic, and I must admit I felt utterly helpless. What manner of creature was this and how could we ever hope to live through this encounter?
It was then that I caught sight of his feet. He was wearing boots, and on one of them was....Jan’s spur! It had to be his. This was the monster that had attacked Jan! I could feel the fury inside me build and bubble to the surface. My claws had emerged involuntarily, as if responding to my growing anger. I lunged towards him, my arms outstretched ready to plunge my claws into his chest. Kyle saw me in time, and moved out of the way. As I fell forward, he grabbed me in a bear hug from behind.
I was so stupid. Had I been thinking rationally, I never would have tried to attack him so brazenly. I normally keep such a tight rein on my emotions, and it still disappoints me that I acted so rashly.
Kyle dragged me over to the balcony ledge, and with me still captive, jumped up and off the side. We fell lightly, considering the distance we fell, four storeys in all. I was struggling, trying to free myself from his grasp, as I yelled him “what do you want? Let me go!”
He replied “now now little sister. Don’t be like that with your big brother.” Repulsed at what he was implying, I said forcefully “you are not my brother.”
“Didn’t Gordon tell you about me? He wants you back, that’s why he sent me to get you, so you can come home. We’ll be one big happy family. You, me, Rhiannon, and Gordon.”
My mind was racing. How could this be? Could Kyle really be Gordon’s Childe, as I was?
I looked over and saw the Priest landing, having jumped from the balcony in pursuit. He stood and said “let her go”. Kyle let out an evil laugh that made my skin crawl. Just then, two black cars screeched to a halt in front of us. The Sheriff and Louis stepped out, followed by six other men. They were telling Kyle to give up and release me, but he was becoming more wild and frenzied.
I could feel Kyle stiffen, as I looked up to see a woman getting out of one of the vehicles. She was carrying a large ancient looking book in her arms, and she began to recite words from it in some foreign language. Kyle seemed to recognise her, and started screaming “get that witch away from me!”
I could feel our bodies begin to heat up, as whatever spell she was casting began to take effect. I felt like I was roasting, being cooked from the inside out. It was at the point of being intolerable, when I managed to free myself from Kyle’s grasp. I dove out of the way, just in time to see Kyle engulfed in an inferno of flames, screaming in agony as the fire consumed him.
Finally, he collapsed in a burning mass on the ground. The flames subsided, and his body crumbled into ash. An unholy wind then swept his ashes away. It was over.
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