Archive for seattle

Ties that Bind

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony with tags , , , , on December 27, 2009 by vampirony

After a few hours trying to sleep, I finally call the nurse in about my headache.  She steps out into the hallway for a moment and then opens the door a crack.  She pauses, pursing her lips before speaking.

“You feel up to a phone call?”

“Yes.” 

“I’ll see about something for your headache then.  Be back in a few so you should keep it short.”

The phone at my bedside rings and I pick it up. 

“I was hoping they wouldn’t trouble you.”

“Well, frankly I’m surprised you haven’t taken me off of your emergency contact list.” 

It’s good to hear his voice and I instantly feel the same old wave of guilt for feeling this way.  He deserves better.  But the fact is I can’t take him off the list.  There’s still Jasmine to think about and she, well, she is what forever ties us together.

“You ok?  What happened?”

“I’m fine.  Just a concussion.”  I pause.  “You know I won’t tell you what happened.  It’s better this way.”

“Yeah, you keep saying that.”  I can feel his tension through the phone.  “What should I tell Jazz?  I can’t keep cover for you every time something happens.”

“Put her on the phone.”

“No.  Way.”

“You’re right.  You shouldn’t have to cover for me.  I’ve never asked you to.  But you will not explain things to her as I would.”

“That’s because what you’ll say is all crap and nonsense!”  He catches himself immediately.  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean that.”

“Yes you do.”

“But it doesn’t help.  You’re hurt.  And I…”

“It’s alright, Dan.  You do mean it and I would rather you not lie.  But you can’t ask me to lie either.  This is who I am.”

I hear him sigh.  Then, in a faraway voice so I know he is covering the phone, “Jazz?  It’s your…”

“Hi, Sophie!”  Her voice is unmistakable.  She must have picked up the other line.

“Hello, sweetie.  Were you eavesdropping?”

“I got it, Daddy!  You can hang up now.”

I hear a soft click.  No goodbye.  No get better.  I don’t deserve it from him.  I struggle with the guilt but I do not wish that what we were had never happened.  A little girl back in Ohio stands as witness that life is bigger than any of us can know.

She whispers.  “He’s off now.  I checked.”

“How are you doing?”

“I liked the dress.  But you don’t need to send me those gifts.  I love you anyways.”

Nothing keeps the tears from falling.  “I know, sweetheart.  But I still like to think of you growing up like a normal little girl.”

“Like you were?”

I was.  At least, I had thought so.  I had once wanted to be a princess and get carried off by a knight on a gleaming white steed.  I had even thought I’d convinced myself that Dan was that knight and that I could make him happy.  But you can’t make someone happy when they think everything you believe in, everything you are is “crap and nonsense.”

“Ok, ok.  Miss sassy mouth.  You don’t dare say things like that to your father, do you?”

“No.  But he can tell I’m different.  He just ignores it.  For now.”  She is old beyond her years.  But no memories…well, not yet.  Hopefully not for a long long time.  “You ok, Sophie?  Daddy was really worried about you.”

“I’m resting.  I don’t mean to make him worry.”

“You can’t stop him.  He likes to worry about you.  But you sound fine.  Ooh, send me something from Seattle!  Isn’t that where that tower is?”

I laugh.  She loves collecting from my travels.  I’m not sure what is local flavor here but I’ll have to get her something.  “It’s called the Space Needle and I will, honey.”  My throat clenches as waves of loneliness and yearning pour through me, through the phone.  “I miss you, baby.”

“I miss you too.  Nite Nite, Mommy.”

INBOX: This is the picture

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony with tags , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2009 by vampirony

From:  Lauren Lyles (lysistrata@webvampyr)
Date:   Tues, 18 Aug 2009
To:      vampironyis@live.com
________________________________________________

So after looking everywhere, I finally found the picture I was thinking of.  However, it’s not of when I was mortal.  I’d forgotten this was taken when I was dancing the variety revue in Greenwich.  “Dance of the Seven Sins,” I think.  Maybe even a little sword dance here or there.  Back then, I traveled between New York and Chicago, doing revues quite a bit.  It was right before WWII, dinner theatre and dance halls, ballrooms were everywhere.  You could have dinner for $2.50.  Imagine!  I remember seeing Gone with the Wind for the first time like it was yesterday.  It was Dec 19th, 1939.  The Astor Theatre.  I was in love with Clark Gable.  Still am, in some ways.laurenlylessmall

I was lucky I was vampire born at 22.  I still had youth on my side and in my blood, body.  In 1939, I had just turned 100 years old, 78 of which were vampire years.  I guess we’re not supposed to count pre-vamp years as we get older.  I was still an adolescent, still learning to control my feedings.  But I was lucky, my maker stayed with me.  He was patient and kind.  I honestly think he wanted a companion forever.  He liked that I had been a country mouse when he’d stumbled upon me ministering to war wounded, fending off brigands, deserters, and other men of low moral standing in the backwoods of North Carolina.  I was nothing to look at then.  I swear I still have a picture from back then.   I will find it with time.  After all, the smell for decaying news clippings from my burlesque show days drew me to this picture and with good reason.

Look at this photo and tell me that I have not changed in appearance…completely.  I’m up to five full minutes with my mirror.  This is no longer the face I have.  Check any Teen Beat magazine, you’ll see.

Along with those smells come a torrent of memories.  I locked myself in a room for days, overcome with lifetimes.  I was confused and disoriented.  It was only my stylist that was able to pull some sense from me.  She asked me about your mirror.  I’d been clutching it and rocking back and forth.  I’ve never done that before.  I hate to ask for your advice so soon again but…have you heard of this?  What should I do?  I’m afraid now to look for the original picture.  I’m afraid I don’t recognize me anymore, inside or out.

There’s something else I ought to tell you but can’t.  Just please, be careful.  I’m not hearing good things about Seattle right now.  Please don’t ask me why.  It’s just, the things you do, they’re bound to be noticed.  I cannot say more.

My name back then in 1939 was Renee Montes.  And I was a vampiress.

Case #13 – Skovajsa: Dinner

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2009 by vampirony

I havea new general rule: Never trust a vampire to set up dinner.  I think this as I arrive at the Cosmopolitan Grill and Steakhouse downtown.  Skovajsa said 10PM.  #The fancy calligraphy on the door says they close at 10PM.  I check around me wary.  It’s been dark for more than an hour.  The most dangerous time of the evening.  But after a moment, the front door opens and I’m ushered in like some sort of royalty.

Escorted by a very happy, young, and overly exuberant waiter to the back room, I see Skovajsa stand from his seat as I arrive.

“You are here.”

“Yes.” I stand at my seat staring at him.  I have to say, even more so than the first time, he’s making an effort to impress.  His suit is elegantly tailored in black and maroon.  His dark looks are not unattractive but something in his demeanor reminds me again of my first impressions.  This time I remember the condition I was thinking of.  Aspergers.  I’d have to look it up later.

“Miss?” the waiter asks, impatiently.  Apparently, he’s been holding my chair back waiting for me.  I’m embarrassed and sitdown as he pushes my chair in.  Then, he tries to put my napkin in my lap I grab it from him and thank him.  He turns on his heel, mumbling about bread.  ‘Scuse me for not liking strange men’s hands in my lap.

Skovajsa remains standing, looking down at me almost as if I’m the main course.  “Please, there is wine.”

menuBoth wine and water glasses are full in front of me.  In fact, it’s a full spread, menu sitting, all glasses and forks and spoons.  I opt for the water, nearly choke as it’s mineral water.  He’s waiting for a response.  I nod, hiding a cough.  “Good.  Thank you.”

He smiles widely.  Then he sits, with a slight blur.  Hard to notice if you weren’t paying perfect attention.  He either is unaware of his overt vampire tells or doesn’t care.

“Thank you for meeting with me again.  Please, order whatever you would like.”

I must have a really twisted sense of humor to agree to meet a vampire, especially a Carpathian, in a steak house. Either that or a morbid sense of foreboding.  I decide not to shine his apple too much about the setup.  I notice Skovajsa staring at me.  He hasn’t moved his facial expression one bit.  I wonder if he is trying to influence me but I don’t feel any unease I usually get.

Thank you. Sounds like you’ve had some time to think about what it is I can help you with.”  I open the menu, but keep my peripheral vision on him.

He shifts in his chair.  “Yes. I have given it due thought.”

The overly exuberant waiter returns, seems to have found his dramatic thunder:  “Alrighty then. There is your wine, it’s an Opus One 2004 from Napa Valley.  An excellent choice.  We have some great and not so great specials on the menu tonight.  There’s a Dungeness Crab crusted halibut that I’m going to steer you clear of and a Duck prosciutto tomato salad that is just as effete as it sounds. Now pound for pound, the Rib Eye is still the best–.”

Before he winds himself up too much more, I simply ask: “Can I just get a steak salad?”

He looks aghast like I just licked my plate.  “The steak salad?”

“Yes, please.”

“Um, ok.  Very good.”

I’ve burst the waiter’s bubble again and he’s off to go patch and re-inflate.

 “I’m sorry.  You were saying.”

“Yes, I have given it due thought.”

Ok, I remember Carpathian’s being a bit slow but autistic?  I move my glasses, a salt cellar around out of scientific curiosity.  “Ok, what have you come up with?”

He ignores the movement, puts his elbows on the table, clasps his hands together.  “I want to know more about me.”  Oh brother.  He’s rehearsed this.  Maybe in a mirror.  “I want to know more about oscar_4others..ur..of my kind. To better know myself.” 

Yup, he’s been watching Oprah.  Didn’t she just do a piece on energy vampires?

I speak carefully, “Ok.  And what do you hope to accomplish from knowing yourself better?” 
 
I’ve stumped him for a moment.  Then:  “To become a better…to become better.”

Well, then, it probably makes sense to set up a session, have you tell me about yourself. See what we can uncover together.  How does that sound?  But a few ground rules.  I don’t talk  about other clients, not in specifics.  So don’t bother to ask. And no following or we’re done.  Understood?”

He suddenly looks ecstatic, like he’s picked the lotto numbers.  Or won an Oscar.  “Yes, I understand.  Yes.  This is good, right?”  He laughs. 

I sigh internally as the overly exuberant waiter returns with some sort of starter I didn’t order, ready to again win praise for exemplery service.  Hopefully all my meetings will be this easy.

Case #13 – 5: Coffee talk Pt 3

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2009 by vampirony

She’s not convinced.  Well now this must be a first.  A human woman thinking she knows better than a hundreds of years old vampire.  I thought I’d cornered the market on that.  Which is why I feel sorry for her.  She’s treating him like just some guy.  She needs to know a lot more things before she could think like that safely.  Most vampires, by virtue of their sheer existence, can take care of themselves.  But there’s always something.

“How do you know that?  Maybe he’s young and foolish.”

I laugh.  Can’t help myself.  She really wants to control this.

starbux“What?”

“Vamps may be paranoid even in the best of times but they are insanely good judges of character.  And there’s no way a vamp younger than 300 would attract a….friend such as yourself.”

“Why?  What’s wrong with me?”

Oh brother.  “Look.  You are well-trained, ex-military, ex-diplomatic service, card carrying member of the Kick-Ass-Cult.  Of the Three, you’re either perfect predator or partner.”

“What does that mean?”

If I’d known I was going to be giving lessons, I would have brought my Factbook.  Oh well.  Better now, give her a chance to get away, then wait until she’s too far in it.

“I theorize that for every vampire, there are three perfect matches that they are karmically bound to.  Prey, the one they hunt.  Predator, the one that hunts them.  And Partner.  That one’s kinda obvious.  If you were Prey, you wouldn’t be walking around.”

This doesn’t help her and after thinking about the fact I just suggested she’s karmically bound to this HE, I realize my mistake.  Time to take it back a notch.

“Look, you might not be any of those things to..him.  I guess what I’m saying is that vampires don’t leave threats around.  You’re a powerful woman and there’s obviously some…uh, attraction there.”  Yeah, that clears it all up.  Is this when I make it worse and tell her that a lot of vamps just attract lookers so they can feast on pretty meat?  She’s walking around so blind I’m beginning to think this he is the wrong sort, that he’s messing with her and, when she figures that out and tries to kill him, he’ll enjoy it and then end her.

“You saying he’s going to turn me?”

“Contrary to movie and novel folklore, vampires tend to turn humans out of accident more than intent.  They turn a human that they are compatible with and they ruin a safe and reliable food source.  They also threaten their hunting grounds with yet another mouth to feed.”  Not to mention increase the UVA in the area.  Police blotter around here already high on that scale.

“Ok you’ve made your point.  You sound like an expert.  But how do I know for sure?”blocksun

“Well, vamps hate references so unfortunately, you’re going to have to let your night friend decide.  That is, if you’re still interested.”

“No references?  What kind of psychologist does that make you?”

“The reliable kind.  The trustworthy kind. Look I’m in town because another powerful vampire wanted to see me. Beyond telling you that, you’re just going to have to decide who you trust the most: me, yourself, or your Nightwalker. But do me a favor, if you want us to meet, please come up with a reasonable cover so that he won’t kill me on sight.”

“He’s not like that.”

“Says you and every other dog owner.  My dog won’t bite.  I may know I’m destined to be back in this world again but I kinda like my here and now.”

We discuss meet-ups.  I have to get back to her because I’m still waiting for Skovajsa to rear his head again.  I mumble something about never handling two cases together.

“Then why did you agree to meet me?” she asks testily.

Because I get sick of talking to the undead.  Because I need to keep busy, the memories have been bad lately.  Growing restless in my head for a week or so. 

“Honestly, I don’t know.  It sounded urgent.  But my other case is difficult, a Carpathian.”

She raises a perfectly arched eyebrow.  “I have no idea what that means.”

“Cripes, you really are a rookie!  We need to learn you up if you’re going hang with the fang.  By the way, don’t mention anything to your vampy friend about the Carpathian.  Some vamps get pissy about…other vamps.  And work on your plan, we need to keep it honest and real.”

I leave her with that, suddenly need to get out of there.  I stumble into oppressive morning heat and grab for my amulet.  She’s so green, I shouldn’t let her plan anything.  But for now, I head back to my room.  I’m going to need an office stat, especially if I intend to try and manage two vampires at once. 

No point in reminding myself that in 13 lifetimes, I’d never even thought to do that outside of a familial group of vamps (aka horror).  And as I check my mail and see a note from Skovajsa asking to meet Thursday night, there really is no point at all reminding myself how that horror session ended.

Case #13 – 5: Coffee talk Pt 2

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2009 by vampirony

I take it that’s not decaf you’re drinking.”

Morena Fourtenay pauses, hand to her back gripping that yet unseen gun, eyes narrowing.  Well I thought it was funny.

“Who are you?” she asks.

I smile.  She has set my business card in front of her on the table.  I point.

“Ok, dumb question.”  She eases her hand off the gun, back to the table.  “Just how long have you been here?”

“The more interesting question is why are you here.”  And why bring a gun to a coffee shop on a hot day?186-019coffee-posters

She assesses me.  I stand up and move over to her table.  Put out my hand.

“Sophie Quinn.”

She takes a moment.  I can see the wheels turning in her head.  This is a mistake, she thinks.  He’s going to kill her for this.  Maybe literally kill her for this.  What business is it of hers what he does? 

She shakes my hand finally.  As she starts to introduce herself, I put up a hand.

“Please.  I always check my referrals.  May I sit down?”

“Sure.”

I sit.  I wait.  Not much of a talker, this girl.

“Well, the coffee is good here but I imagine you had something on your mind when you contacted me.”

She starts to tell me about the dreams, no “I met Vampire X when…” which is patently interesting.  Just He.  Yeah, you heard that.  In CAPS.

“Ever since the dreams started, he’s been different.  Almost as if..as if he’s afraid.”

“How long has this been?”

“About a week or so.”

“Hmm.  Vamps and sunshine don’t mix that well, at least not directly.  I’ve never heard of a dreaming vampire either.”

“But what does it mean?”

“Do you know how old He is?”  I suppose if it isn’t important for me to have his name yet, so be it.

Morena sits back, folds her arms.

“We, uh, haven’t talked about that really.”

“Hm.”

“What does that Hm mean?”

“You’ve only been with him a few months, eh?”

“How did–?”

“Vamps are notoriously long-winded once they break the four month window.  Well, allowing for variation.  After that, you’ll be begging him to shut up.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You know how your great uncle Charlie used to trap you and tell you ‘Well, in my day’ stories?”

“Yeah?”

“Imagine hundreds of years worth of those stories.”

“Oh.”

“Unfortunately, that makes this whole thing difficult.”

“How do you mean?”

“Vamps don’t trust easily.  And because they’re so long lived, a few months is just a blink of the eye to them.  No matter how good you think your relationship is, telling his secret to another human is tantamount to betrayal.”

“But I’m trying to help him.”

“You really are new to this, aren’t you?”  It’s not her fault, really.  I’ve had lifetimes with these creatures to know about them.  She probably has gotten swept up in the danger and romance of it.  Look at the TV, the book store, even our teenagers are being led to believe that vampires are these romantic, even glowing beings that when they meet just the right woman…ur…human, they can be tamed.  They’re just misunderstood.  Well, they are.  More so now than ever.

“A few words of advice, Morena.  He’s a big vampire, he can take care of himself.”

Case #13 – 5: Coffee talk Pt 1

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2009 by vampirony

Rough night but finally got a few hours sleep.  I thought Seattle was supposed to be temperate, cool, rainy, wet.  Not ungodly hot.  At least the room has air conditioning but it’s a shock to walk outside at 8am and have it be 80 degrees in the Pacific Northwest.

I arrive at the Starbucks across from my hotel for my meeting early.  Again, part of sizing someone up is how they enter.  In this case, I choose the spot out of convenience to me.  Meeting a vampire’s human followers is always a tricky business.  Normally, I treat them exactly like the vampire, many of the master’s traits rub off on them.  And personalities need to mesh.  You can tell a lot by the company someone keeps, especially when that someone can cause you harm if they slip up.

I sit down with a local paper.  Dead girl found in a dumpster.  Small print today, will be no print by tomorrow.  Meet is at 9am.  Should be able to get to the Sports page.

At 8:43AM, a striking tall latina with long raven hair, perfectly fitting t-shirt, jacket, and jeans, and no nonsense eyes that physically move two businessmen out of her way strides in.  I think my jaw drops open.  Morena Fourtenay doesn’t just enter the room.  She owns it.  Hercule’s dossier spoke a lot about her abilities with weapons and combat, her shining career, fast tracked then stonewalled, then reassignment and quitting .  But this woman here looks anything like a quitter.  And the dossier has no ranks for kick-ass-edness.

I toss a look around the room.  Even the picture didn’t do her justice.  Must have been an official one from her embassy days, all prim and proper.  Every able male in the room (and some of the women) are currently fighting a whole different morning woody.  She cases the room while ordering her drink.  But she’s distracted, sloppy.  I’m not trying to avoid her eye contact but her eyes brush by me.

Makes it easy as I wait for her to choose a spot then very casually move to exchange my paper on another open table, peruse it, then sit down right behind her.  That’s when I notice the fidgeting, her fingers drumming against table as she drains her venti in under five.  I let her sweat it out for a few minutes.  The drumming doesn’t let up.  And they say vampires are OCD.  Just as I’m about to say something, I hear her sigh.

“This is a total waste of time.”

I lean back in my chair.  “Coming from an ex-Secret Service agent, that’s saying something.”

She startles, grabs for the back of her jeans, under her jacket.

She’s packing.  In a coffee shop.  Great.  Great start.

They come mostly at night…mostly

Posted in Vampirony with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2009 by vampirony

Checked mail, no answer from Bruno, tried calling bartender with no answer so left vague voice mail.  Seem to recall a video tapping at the club, resolve to look that up.  Spend an hour updating FB with some excerpts from the Factbook on influencing since it’s in my mind.  It’s not that I’m avoiding sleep…it’s just not coming.

After a few years of seeing clients at all hours of the night, sleeping at night feels like a wasted opportunity.  But meeting early tomorrow, 9AM, to see to this other lead.  But now, it’s probably too late to take a sleeping pill.  And my head is reeling with memories.

smacardsPart of the trouble with remembering past lives is that they creep in when you’re most vulnerable.  For me, that’s the night mostly.  Which is why I don’t mind working in the evenings.  I actually prefer it.  By day, I’m so tired that I crash and when I awaken, there’s light and movement and all the sights and sounds of a life in full view that distracts me beautifully.  I’ve been on this quest, perhaps quixotic, so many lifetimes that my nights are filled with memories of vampires.  Ones I couldn’t help, ones that hunted me, ones that even killed me…I’ve had so few successes.  But my failures, they are grand indeed.

But then, there are moments.  Like the Burim twins.  I protected them for a spell.  Made vampires by mistake at 13.  Hired as a governess, I was Auntie to them.  When I had finally revealed that I knew their horrible secret, I had been able to help them find a way to not take up the vampire life, to avoid it and yet survive.  They never drank human blood.  That seemed key to keep them from growing too strong, for keeping their powers undercover.  And using the techniques I had through lifetimes to record my work, save it away, entrusted to a guardian who would continue the line until I surfaced again, we were able to set up familial guardians for the twins.  So they might never be alone, unprotected.

melatoninIn honesty, I’d lost track of them after that one lifetime.  I have tried off and on to find out what happened to them, so many things could have.  But this lifetime is too new and the memories sometimes fade into fog if I try too hard to remember.  It’s better to let them coalesce on their own.

I get up to go call in my last stand: melatonin.  It usually eases me to sleep.  And sometimes, the best remedy for the night is to pass through it unknowingly.