Reunions aren’t for the weak


“Sophie?”

Morena grabs for my shoulder as I sway.  I blink and the sensation of my whole being off-shifting two inches in my head is gone.  The murmuring remains.  There’s someone here, someone familiar.  But instinctively I know that, in this lifetime, I’m too inexperienced to be able to sort it out.  Friend or foe?  I honestly don’t know.  For the first time since I’ve met her, I’m glad to have Morena within reach.

She’s staring intently down at me when I finally clear the cobwebs and meet her eyes.  I give her a meager smile.

“What just happened?  You just seemed to, I dunno, disappear for a sec there.”

“I’m alright,” I say and start to follow the pull towards the door of the shop The Crimson Kukri.  Its sign says:  The world’s only 24 hour gaming store.  In the same building is DayGlow, advertising 24 hour tanning.  The irony, if there is a vampire involved, is not lost on me.

It’s not smart but I can’t resist it.  I need to know what this is…who this is.  I need to know now.

“Hey!” Morena keeps a hold of my arm, stops me short, pulls my head around due to the force of it.  I lock eyes with her.  “What, you got a sudden urge to tan?”

“Just have to follow a lead.”

She follows along as well, although I’m not sure I should give her credit or blame for that.  The door to the shop seems unremarkable enough except for the weathered, solid oak frame.  I feel it vibrating towards me.  It’s enchanted somehow.  I push the door open easily and Morena and I walk into the store.  There’s a small chime as we cross the plane, so simple and familiar it’s almost sinister.

The shop is brightly lit, short beat-up wooden shelves stuffed with gaming books and various supplies.  There’s an entire wall of dice of every color and pattern in bins with signs for Chessex and Gamescience.  Large surveillance mirrors hang in both front corners.  I can feel Morena tense up behind me, her head moving from corner to corner.

Straight in front of us sitting ramrod straight behind the front counter is a very comely young women with jet black hair hanging straight around DSC02717her face, obscuring it.  Her black t-shirt has an caricature of some sort of marmot looking creature, sayingFUHyrax‘.  Her head  is half turned and bent, looking at a computer screen, black fingernail of her index finger clicking on a crimson red mouse.  She doesn’t look directly at us but takes a very deep breath in through her nose.  Her hand comes off the mouse and goes under the counter.  I see her shoulders tense.  Morena sees it too, probably even sees the twitch of the muscle in the woman’s alabaster arm as she likely grabs something behind the counter.  Morena unsnaps her gun from her back holster.

It all happens in a flash before I can say a word.  

The woman’s eyes turn black and she snarls at us, fangs bared.  Metal bars fall over the store front locking us in. 

A full six seconds behind, Morena reacts, shouting, “Down!”  She pushes me down behind a case, her gun coming out.  I turn toward her as I fall and before I hit the floor, I see a inky black streak of smoke explode next to her and suddenly, a young dark haired, well-dressed man appears beside her, snarling.

He tosses her aside before she can even turn and she slams into the dice display, richoceting off the wall and landing in a thump, motionless on the floor.  The young man gives her a snarl and then turns to me, stepping slowly over to me, glaring down.  He inhales through his nose and his  mouth opens in a fully fang-filled grimace.  It’s the last thing I see before he kicks me in the face, knocking me out.

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