Archive for supernatural

You are What You Eat

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony, writing with tags , , , on November 25, 2012 by vampirony

It had happened slowly, over time, over many, many nights. But finally, one night, seasons later, a grizzled black-grey wolf he’d later name Elba, one that had tormented him the most, eaten the most, gorged night after night in his blood, had raised its head over his prone body, pale yellow eyes glowing and had snapped viciously at the others. Not in a fight for food as other nights it had done, but something different.

There was a tussle then with the second most aggressive, a silver and cream coated female he’d later name Vega.  Elba stood over his chest and after much growling and snapping of jaws, Elba had stepped away from what was now a corpse. It sat on its haunches and watched the rest of the pack devour the body until they couldn’t eat any more. Each night, they could eat less and less. It was as if their bellies were still full from prior feasts but still they chased him, fought over him. After the frenzy, the other wolves moved away, sated, their stomachs looking lean but feeling so full to bursting. But one wolf, the female, Vega, stayed behind and rolled in the carnage, flopping down and kicking her legs up in the air. She did it over and over again, until the fur over her back glinted dark red. Then she had run off after the others.

Elba panted for a few minutes, watching the earth soak up the rest of the blood. Then he lay down, licking his muzzle and then his foreleg in long, practiced strokes until not a drop of blood still stained his black coat. Then the other legs. Afterward, he laid his head down between his forelegs and watched the ground, waiting.

It was just dawn when he saw the miraculous. A beam of light somehow made it through the dark canopy and shone over the sandy ground. Then the ground pushed up softly, quietly, in the form of a man as if he was pushed up through the earth. Elba lifted his head in surprise, ears twitching at this sight. The form remained inert, like a sand statue made by loving, artistic hands, every detailed of the slain man reproduced from the ground, still colored brown and rust in paces with dried blood.

Then as the sun finally broke over the horizon, earth turned flesh and with a gasp, the man breathed again. Elba jumped up, whined, paced nervously but watched alertly as the man began to move again, stretching out his limbs. The man turned his head covered now in golden brown hair toward the sound of Elba’s discomfort.

Elba froze, his pale yellow, almost white eyes locked with the man’s hazel ones. He wanted to leave, to find his pack, but something in this man’s gaze calmed him, spoke to him from deep inside.

Then the man spoke.

“Stay.”

The spell broken, Elba sprinted away, leaving the man to ponder more about his new acquaintance then about how he came to be in the forest in the first place.

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Class is in Session

Posted in Vampirony with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2010 by vampirony

Whatever expectations I had in seeing Jesper the vampire again, he certainly shattered them.  First, he was exactly on time.  To the dot.  Secondly, he was taller than remembered.  Much taller.  And it unnerved me just as much as his charcoal grey knit turtleneck that his physique seemed to be trying to tear itself out of.

Dumbfounded is I think the exact word to describe me standing in the doorway, staring up and up at him.

“Ah, Miss Quinn, uh Sophie.  I hope I’m not late.”

Shook my head mutely.

“Well, I do like to be punctual.”  Nearly rakish smile suddenly muffled into sheepishness as he laughed.

Nod my head slowly.

“Just a little vampire humor.  Break the ice.”

“Uh-huh.”

Still standing in the doorway, he let his eyes peer in through the halfway opened door I still barred him from entering.   “Look, Sophie, I would like to apologize to Morena personally, although how she would ever agree to see me again, I have no….”

Morena opened the door wide behind me.  I just stared.  He was taller, wasn’t he?  And his hair, was it always so golden?  What color were his eyes, blue, green, I couldn’t quite remember?  His voice….aaaarghhhh!!!  Frustrating, this damn attraction.

“Hello, Jesper, good of you to come,” Morena said, without any such distraction.

“Morena,” he said surprised.  “I know I have a lot of explaining to do…”

She kicked the door wider, “Then come explain it to us.”  She then turned on her heel and heading back to the far wall, cross her arms and leaning a shoulder against it, daring him to enter.

He turned back to me.  “Will you invite me in?”

Our gaze met and suddenly he knew that I knew that invitations aside, any vampire could walk into any home unbidden.  And that awareness prompted the corner of his mouth to turn up.  He was testing and teasing me.

“Oh, come on in.”  I managed, now turning surly from wanting to do something so entirely different with him at this moment.

As he glided by me, he dropped his mouth near my ear and whispered, “Is it right to keep that one to ourselves?”

He was right of course and his reminding me of the reason I had gathered all us together at my office worked like throwing ice water with fire sand on me.  Time to get my head back in the game and go to work.

But before I closed the door behind him, my attention was draw for a moment by a cacophony of birds in the sky:  several starlings overhead were badgering a bald eagle.  Yeah, the national symbol bald eagle.  It was the first one I could remember seeing…in any lifetime.  And it seemed to be quite harangued by the inky black birds.  Whether a dispute over territory or food, the eagle seemed to be moving off to fight another day.

I shut the door behind me and looked over this motley crew.  Morena, leaning against the wall and trying very hard not to look at Jesper.  Nick, sitting on the settee with a laptop, ready to take notes.  Jesper the vampire, who took in every corner of the room before leaning back against my desk.

I walked to the whiteboard we’d put up in the front of the room and took up a marker, just to have something to grip.  “First off, vampires do not require your permission to enter a place.”

Nick sagged, “Oh, really?”  He started typing frantically.  “I was kinda hoping that one was true.”  He threw a spurious look at Jesper but said nothing else.

Jesper folded his arms and revealed more well-defined guns than I’d previously noticed.  Biceps were a failing of mine.  I took the cap off and wrote on the board, stabbing it as I did.  Something was different about him like I hadn’t quite met him before.  It was bugging me that I couldn’t figure it out.

I turned toward him with the question in my throat but paused.  Wouldn’t Morena notice too?  I mean, she’d been with him for longer than I.  I mean, been with him.  A-hum.  I felt my face flush.

“Yes?” he asked since I was staring right at him.

“Would you like to say something before we begin?”

“Um, no.  Let’s just see where this leads.”  His face became suddenly impassive and I could tell the guard was going back up.  His arms tightened, his neck muscles twitched in alert.  So strange how he’d gone from totally relaxed to alert mode.  When I looked back at the others, his eyes did another scan of the room, as if he sensed something.  But nothing was there and he settled his eyes on Morena for a brief moment for returning them back to me.

Senses.  Perfect place to start.

“First off, it is true that vampire senses are sharper than almost any other creature.”

Nick typed and then stopped.  “Wait, there are other kinds of creatures?”  There was an edge of panic there.

Jesper shook his head once.  “You have no idea.”

“Nick.  Focus.”

“Sorry.”  He thought for a moment.  “So what, like, hearing, seeing…smelling?”

“You might want to have a little less mirin in your udon,” Jesper suggested.

Nick didn’t blink.  “Yeah, it was too salty too.  I need to talk to Khang about that…Wait, you can tell I had udon?  That was two days ago!  You shitting me?”

“He can smell it in your skin, your blood,” I explained.

Morena and Nick looked ready to bolt.  I needed to bring this back a piece.  Jesper was a particularly old vampire and very special…in many ways.  Using him as a prime example would just not do, in any regard.

“Not all vampires have senses that…sharp…”

“Or discerning…” he added, causing me to throw him a glare.  He was preening over there, like some high school jock showing off his letterman jacket.

“But these are the basics you need to always remember so you don’t ever try to, well, trick a vampire.  He will be able to sense it.”

“Not to mention the fact it’s just rude,” Jesper added for color.

Morena, who had started biting her lip, looked like she wanted to say something.

“Morena?  A question?”

It drew Jesper’s attention.  She tossed her eyes to him then back at me, uncertain.  “What…what about healing?”

Jesper’s head turned back around but showed his displeasure.  He and I had not yet discussed the vampire attacks I’d suffered and as far as he knew, Morena had not been harmed.  I think the simple fact that he hadn’t approached her sniffing like a guard dog showed that the twins were able to mask their smells and auras quite effectively.

I ignored him.  “Vampires are difficult to injure.  But I don’t want to start there.  That’s not the point of this session.  I know of all this may seem unimaginable, overwhelming, and frightening.  And you need to know what you’ are dealing with.  But not to fight back, not to injure, but to keep yourselves out of those situations.  Most vampires are hard to provoke because using their abilities makes them vulnerable to disclosure and they prefer to stay hidden.”

Morena shook her head violently.

“I know it may be hard to believe but if you don’t walk into their lairs, if you avoid them, if you deal straight-forward with them, like you would a bear or a tiger in their element, you can stay safe.  And that’s what I want.  I want you all to know enough to be able to avoid confrontations.”

Jesper looked even more uncomfortable, his eyes shifting around, but his body was completely still.  I should have known this class would’ve had this reaction on him.  Unsettling to hear yourself described like a wild animal.

Morena and Nick looked unconvinced.  “Ok, some basics.  Let’s cover what vampires can’t do.  There’s actually quite a lot that has been ascribed to them that’s false.  Invisibility, turning into a bat, flight…”

Jesper perked up.

“What?” I asked.

“Oh nothing.  Just…interesting…that last bit.”

Then his lips curled in a smile.  I crossed my arms, annoyed.

“If you’ve got something to add, please, go right ahead.”

“I didn’t say a word.”

“Vampires can’t fly.”

“Yes, you’ve made that abundantly clear.”  I couldn’t put my finger on Jesper’s behavior.  He seemed bemused by my vamp facts, but every so often, he’d obviously stretch out his senses and go still as a statue, as if picking up a threat.  But right now, there was no threat, not exactly.  His eyes were boring into me.  And they were starting to glow.

“Oh, shit.”

He unfolded his arms, dropped his smile and took a step towards me.  “What?”

He was standing facing away from the others, luckily.  When I began to shake my head, my mouth falling open at his eyes changing color, he suddenly was at my side, his arm reaching out for mine, concern all over his face.  I’m sure he meant to lightly grasp my arm to force me to look at him, nothing intended.  But that’s not what the murder of crows that suddenly descended on him thought he intended.

“Get away from her, you basilisk fuck!” Lucy spat as she materialized in mid-kick, wielding a sharpened spear, aiming it right for Jesper’s heart.

The Problem with Recovery

Posted in Vampirony with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2009 by vampirony

Out in the cooler night air, it’s easier to think.  Of course I had said take a walk but Morena didn’t like the idea of hanging around that area of Bellevue to chat so I let her take me into her area called Ballard.  Suddenly, I had been hit with the maritime history of the area and felt closer to the sea.  She had to correct my thinking, that there was this large body of water called Puget Sound, that we weren’t actually all that close to the ocean.

Many lifetimes past and the idea of open ocean still felt strange to me, proof positive of how much our current daily lives make use forget what once we had known.  Shes showing me around Ballard.  It’s very cute and towny in a way Bellevue just isn’t.  There’s a realness, like someone could wear this place, live her that I just don’t get from the artifice of Bellevue.  Or at least the place Bellevue is becoming, so much glass and mirrors.

Morena wants to understand about my idea of what she calls Immortality.   Jespers been giving her the Vampire litany, I suspect.

“It’s not that, really,” I try to explain.  “And theologically, I’m not quite Buddhist or Hindu but there are basic concepts I not only agree with, I know.  It’s the idea that I’ve lived past angellives, each one leading up to a time when I will have earned enough karma to bypass this earthly world and reach the time of true spirit.  Well, not exactly that, but that’s the terms I know to explain to a layperson.”

She nods.  “And enlightenment.  Or something like that.”

“Not enlightenment.  That dictates some sense of self.  it’s about becoming one with all things, losing one’s individuality and melding into the universe.”  Lovely talk for a walk by the locks.

She smirks.  “Like the Borg.”

I laugh at the reference.  “Um, no.  Not at all.”

“I don’t get it.  All I want is to be able to carve out a place for myself in this world and you seem to want to, I don’t know, do the opposite.”

I could finally see her struggle.  “You’re Catholic, right?”

She tosses me a look.  “How’d you guess?”  We keep walking and she seems to answer her own question, stuffing her hands in her pockets.  “Recovering.”

“No one really recovers from being Catholic.  It’s too strong a belief system for most to just give up.  It promises Heaven…and Hell.  But only through the Spirit and the Holy Ghost.  It’s a very digestible idea that when you die, you go live on a plane of existence somewhere, beyond pain and suffering, that you’ll see you loved ones again, and will be with your God and will know the answers to all things.  It’s not so different.”

She sighs.  “I don’t know about all that.  I used to.  But if God allows demons on Earth…the Church never told us about that.  I’ve seen things, done things, that I have to believe are sins but I’ve asked, believe me, I’ve confessed, only to be told to do penance, to amend my life, and do ten Hail Marys.”

And here we are at the crux of her conflict.  “Did you tell your confessor that you’re giving blood to a vampire?”

“Not in those exact words.”

“Then why are you convinced it’s a sin?”

“It’s an unnatural creature.  It has to be.”

“No more unnatural that you or I.  Somehow out of a bundle of microscopic cells, we grow into sentient beings with souls.  Vampires are life, yes, just another form, a transformation out of human.”

“But they are immortal.”

“Not exactly.  In the truest sense of the word, definitely not.  They can be killed.”

“If Jesper heard you, he’d say…”

I sigh, then mockingly, “Yes, I know.  I am Vampire.”

“You’ve heard that before?”

“More time than I can count.  It’s a motto or something.  Like Be Prepared or Semper Fi.”

Don’t Tread on Me.”

We both laugh.  “Exactly.  As I’ve said, there are various types of vampires.  But there are defining characteristics, just like you and I are both humans but in appearance, attitude, ethnicity we are different.”

“But we’re still the same subspecies.  Even I know that.  Homo Sapiens Sapiens.”

She’s getting it and losing her tension all at the same time.  We fear all we do not understand.  Some seek to uncover the truth while others flee it.  “What do you know about Australia?”

“Why?”

I tell her how Australia developed specialized creatures found nowhere else do to their landlocked, isolated populations, driven by external stimuli to evolve.  “Vampires developed in the same way.”

“So that’s why you talk about the Carpathian.  He’s a subspecies.”

I can’t help the shudder, hope I catch it before she notices.  She doesn’t seem to.   “Next to the Jiang Shi, they are the most dangerous.”  We’ve walked past the locks toward some shops intermixed with bars in a warehouse district on the water.   “They seem driven by fear and anger more than any other type.  While I understand all those forces, I have yet to successfully rehabilitate one.  Not for lack of trying.”

“Rehabilitate?”

“As you have already seen, vampires don’t need to kill to subsist.  There are plenty of humans willing to provide for them.  They are intelligent enough, powerful enough to control what they need to to stay safe and comfortable.  And most adult vampires have aged enough to control their urges in modern society.  It’s sheer necessity.  In a media age, too much killing would draw attention and expose them all.  The modern vampire has adjusted.”

“Like Jesper.”

I would pat myself on the back later for not skipping a beat.  “Jesper could be self-taught or the one who made him choose him quite well.  I don’t get any sense from him that he isn’t in full control of himself or his thirst.  The dreams seems his only trouble.  Carpathians live in a constant state of threat to which their reponse is aggression.”

“And you’ve tried to rehabilitate one before?”

“Twice, actually.  Both times, I died.”tanning

Morena stops me walking by grabbing my arm.  “I’m sorry what do you mean you died?”

I look her in the face and my gut tells me there’s still something troubling her, some secret.  Maybe it’s because she’s starting to trust me.  I can’t put my finger on it.

“My last death was caused by a Carpathian name Valerian Nyssus.  He decapitated me and then cut my body into little pieces.  He was hoping to have me alive during most of his torture but I so irritated him that he knocked my head clean off.”

There is a deathly silence and even under the street lamp, I can see her face go pale.  There’s a bank of old corrugated steel buildings, converted to commercial retail spaces along the docks.  A neon light winks above us:  24 hour TANNING.

“You are crazy.  What would possess you to try again after…after something like that?”

“To be honest, I didn’t know Skovajsa was Carpathian when I came up here.  I’m still not convinced he’s what he says he is.  But I’ll know more tonight.”

And that’s when I begin to hear it, the murmuring.  Just under the sound of muted traffic and geese.  I lose sight of the neon sign for a moment and an image from the book appears to me, its pages flipping furiously, then everything blurs…

Cohorts Anonymous

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2009 by vampirony

Meeting a client’s jealous cohort/girlfriend ranks up there in my favorite things right after meeting a vampire lord in his lair on Halloween and offering to negotiate a treaty between werewolfs and vampires in a Belizan jungle.  In other words, I wouldn’t call it my best move.  But I’m one and one in these type of high risk choices and at the very least, dealing with humans has always seemed to be more about letting them know they’re still ranked higher than an outsider like me than about an actual grievance.

Companions are always wildcards.  Remember Renfield?  Not strictly the book version but more of the classic movie version.  Crazy and selfless.  I’ve met those kinds of  companions.  I’ve also meet the kind that were talented in letting their vampire think that it was all about the vamp but was really all about that sense of power the companion inherited being in the company of One Who Is Vampire.  Those were the companions I steered clear of…many of them wind up dead by their original vampire or by the next vamp that comes along to overthrow a territory.

So as I watch Morena empty her pistol into the target with a precise and smoldering calm, I wonder at what she is doing with Jesper, how they met, and what past man in her history had not listened to her advice.  And lived to regret it.  She’s wearing her all black uniform which I guess she does out of utility but serves to make her look sleek and dangerous.  She’s well kept without looking frivolous.  I suspect that she gets hit on by drunk guys at bars that can’t tell she’d just as soon kick them in the nuts as talk to them.  If she even goes to bars.  Somehow, I can’t see her wasting her energy.

She finishes her clip and I lift up my ear muffs.  “You wanted to see me?”on_range_lg

She ignores me, replaces her clip, and begins firing again, forcing me to slap the muffs back in place.  I can’t tell where she’s aiming on her target but I can imagine it’s dead in the heart.  Her look from the night before…that’s what I’ve been focusing on.  Not any of the other things about that night.  I haven’t scribed notes.  Haven’t dared to yet.  Too fresh.

She finishes another clip and finally sets her pistol down, bringing the target forward.  I can’t help but step forward to see the results.  As I suspected, she’s shot so many tight shots that it’s tore a huge hole right through the heart of the target.  I remove my safety gear. 

“Nice,” I say out loud, under my breath.  This is what I have to deal with.  I find myself wondering if she knows those skills are useless against the supernatural.  I clear my throat.  “You wanted to see me?”

She continues to ignore me, doing something with her weapon.

“Fine.”  I turn on my heel and start to go.  I have a limit to my patience too.

“I don’t want you to see him again.”  I stop walking and turn back to her.  She’s slowing removing her safety equipment.  She’s not looking at me.  I think she’s embarrassed that she feels this way.  “I’m beginning to think it was a bad idea contacting you.”  Her hand rests on her gun.

“Why?  Because you think my helping him is going to make you less useful?”

That stings her and I’m stunned to her the words fall out of my mouth.  Where is this emotion coming from?

Her eyes flick up to me, liking the challenge.  “I don’t like you attitude.”

I take a step forward.  “Good.  Because I’m getting sick of yours.  You were the one that wanted me to help him and now that it seems to be doing some good, you feel threatened.  Dare I wonder why you have no human boyfriend?”

Her hand flinches over the gun but she stops herself.

“I don’t make a habit out of counseling humans but you should consider getting some.  You’re wound tighter that he is. ”  I’m done feeling sorry for her.  So strange how quickly that shifted.  I begin to wonder in some part of my mind when the pissing part of this contest will start.

Whether it’s my standing up to her or her instinct with the gun, I can see her resolve slipping.  “Yeah that would be a great conversation.”

“Morena, you have to stop thinking of me as competition.  I’ve been hired to help a client.”

“He doesn’t look at you like that.”

I throw up my hands and turn to go, so not wanting to cover this subject.

“You were right.”

That stops me from walking out.  Turns me back around.

She continues.  “I’m new at this.  Jesper told me I would have to learn to accept him with other women, that it was just in a vam…his kind’s nature to have more than one, uh, companion.  I guess you’re just my first taste of that.”

“I’m not sleeping with him.”

“But you will.  Eventually.”

A pained smile crosses my face, probably hoping to cover the blushing.  I shake my head.  “What makes you think that?”

She assess me for a moment.  “Because I think you protest too much.  You feel it too.  I can see that much.  It’s different this time.  For you.  Oh you’re putting up your guards, maybe even will put up a good fight but he’ll get through it.”  She sighs.  “He just gets to you.”

She needs to know so much more.  Positive vampires just draw you in.  She’s never met anything else, doesn’t know anything else.  it’s unfair how special she thinks he is.  Well, except the glowing eyes part, of course.  Which she doesn’t even know.  And now isn’t the time to think about that.

Morena begins packing up her things, thinking she’s had the last word.

“Jesper isn’t the first vamp I’ve met nor will he be the last.  The more you know about them, the less fantastical they’ll seem.  Believe me, it’ll almost get ordinary, their abilities.”

“Right.”

We share a look for a moment.  It’s a tenuous peace at best, one that I recognize I need to work on.  I can’t proceed with his treatment at night while waging war with his companion during the day.  At some point, tests will be needed that will strain her trust.  Probably sooner than later.  She’s looking at my amulet, much like he had.

“You wanna tell me how you guys met?” I ask, hoping to find some common ground.

“You wanna tell me why you’re so certain of your own immortality?”

Common ground indeed.  This subject was so much easier.

“Let’s take a walk.”

The First Mark

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2009 by vampirony

I open my eyes and somehow, I have rendered a perfect replica on the page of Nick’s talisman.  Surprising as I don’t remember being able to draw even stick figures well.  I finger my own amulet, the infinity symbol held tightly in place over my throat by old worked leather straps.  Given to me as a ward against vamps, it has no special abilities.  Other than granting me the occasional solace.

The exercise of entering Nick into the book has sapped me and I feel completely drained.  The feeling is welcome.  Along with excess energy is gone the worry, the doubt, the fear, the regret, and the guilt.  Not even the shred of karmic resistance remains.  I push the book away.  It is a vampire of sorts.  It’s stealing my memories.  Or making copies, rather, so that I bedmight connect back lifetime over lifetime to what I had been before.

I check the time.  10:11 PM.  After meeting with Morena, then finding the office space and meeting with Nick, running errands, checking out that dumpster for any more UVA, and doing a haul through the library for any further vamp sign, I have no further work.  I contemplate a quick email to my professor and guru Dr. Kaga.  Something is working its way out.  But the fatigue wins out and I make my way to the bed.  nothing to do this night but sleep.

I pass the window, see the new construction across the street, its cranes lit up in the darkness.  Throughout my traveling, I’ve never seen a place in such a hurried state of decay and rebirth, struggling to craft steel and shine while older times crumble slowly beneath it.  It feels all apropos, like the book coming awake after so many years.

Dinner tomorrow night with Skovajsa.  Well, meeting anyways.  What does a vampire do in a steakhouse?

And the next night, the mysterious vampire dreamer.  I do indeed wonder, my Shakespeare ringing in my muted head: What dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil must give us pause?

Into the Memento: Nick Part 2

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2009 by vampirony

So around the back of the building we went to find a steep rickety flight of stairs. 

The girl points.  “Up there.  No one’s there for months so don’t blame us for the mess.”

“Thanks, kid,” Nick says.

She walks off, mumbling something that sounds a lot like “Jerk-off” in Russian.  Why I remember that from my community college class, I’m not sure.

Clearing his throat, Nick draws my attention as he begins to read in a very pseudo-professional voice, “Ms. Quinn, this property is a pristine rental office, once home to Bellevue’s first Hispanic dentist.”

I can’t help but smile.  He’s sure making a go of it.  “Well, then, let’s take a look.”

Nick reads as he heads up, me following:  “This property, a former dentist’s office, offers 850 square feet of space.  It opens with a spacious reception are, has 3 additional offices or patient rooms, a small break room, 3/4 bath, and storage/utility room.  Lots of windows lend it a bright airy feeling.  Recently updated HVAC.”

We don’t get far.  At the landing, Nick struggles with a keyring full of keys, none of which seem to work.  “Huh.  I coulda sworn.”

I fold my arms patiently.

Nick sighs.  “Oh Hell.”

He jimmies the door open with practiced skill then blithely ignored my raised eyebrow.

“Ah, well, obviously we’ll need to get that lock fixed.”

And in following with the rest of this appointment, the spacious office is revealed to be an utter dump, cluttered and dusty from disuse.  The drop ceiling is missing tiles, the floor is strewn with abandoned boxes of assorted medical nonsense.  A stack of unopened boxes of latex gloves sits in the middle of reception.  Whatever windows there were are either boarded or dry-walled over.  Convenient for me.

“Ah, charming.”

Nick checks the paper again.  “I don’t understand.  It says the last occupant was six months ago.  This place could be hiding Osama.”

“Or Jimmy Hoffa.”

“Who’s that?”

I shake my head.

“I’m really sorry.  If I’d know, I would have maybe had my brother come by and clean up.  He owns a cleaning service.  They do a really great job.  The specialize in medical facilities and labs.”

latexDespite the disarray, the place isn’t that bad.  The windows are mostly covered, the offices are of good size, and with this and the deli being the only occupants for the small building, no one to hear anything strange.  I’m taking stock of any other updates when I hear Nick sigh.

“I’ve really screwed this up, haven’t I?”

“How long have you been in training?”

“About 3 weeks.  This is only my second showing.”

“And the first?”

“Was much nicer than this.  It was a slam dunk.”

I smile.

“You don’t believe me.  How could you?  I’m wearing this stupid suit because the cleaners screwed up my order, my boss’s jackhole manager hands me a stack of day-old printouts and tells me to go run up some business while my boss is out sick.  I must look and sound pretty pathetic.”

I decide to let him roll on in his pity party.

“Here’s the deal.  There’s, like, a million years of cobwebs in here and I wouldn’t doubt Aragog is lurking somewhere in the back.  With the deli downstairs, I guarantee it’ll smell like borscht at all hours and from the look of it, they cater down to the locals.  I swear I thought to check for missing cat signs when I parked.  But I can get my brother to come in and get this place so clean you could make microchips off the floor.  All for a low price.  And the windows, well, I’ll figure something out.”

“Sounds like a lot of effort for you personally.”

“I really need a break.”

“Tell you what.  How much do you make at this job?”

“Not nearly enough.”

“Saving up for something special?”

I get the wary look from him.  “Yeah, art school.”

“Hmm, you get me this property for four months no strings and all the other things you already said, ready by end of day Monday, and I’ll pay you 800 a week to manage the office for me while I’m in town.  I’ll pay you a flat two grand on signing as an advance.”

“Are you serious?”

“Sorry it’s not a longer arrangement but I tend to move a lot.  I think that should go quite a ways toward…uh, art school, was it?”

Culinary school, really.”

“Ah.”

“What are you, the mafia?  Drug dealer?”

“Yeah, me and Jimmy Hoffa.”

“Huh?”

“No.  I offer specialized counseling to folks kinda on the fringe.  And for now, until we have a deal, that’s all I’ll say.”

Then his look turns suspicious.  “Why me?”

“Because you’re a solver.  You know how to best maneuver in uncomfortable situations to get a favorable outcome using more finesse than force.”

“We speaking strictly about the door?  Cause I’m not a thief or anything.”

I laugh.  “No.  And I like you.  I just get this really strong sense we’re meant to be friends.”

“Uh, yeah, ok.  Um.  I really don’t think I’m exactly what you’re looking for, Ms. Quinn.”

“Nick, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah.”

“I’m not hitting on you.”

“Uh, ok.  Sorry.  Not sure why I thought that.  I mean, of course you’re not , I mean.  You don’t exactly scream ‘cougar.’  Trust me, I’ve seen my share over at Jerry’s some nights.”

“Waiter by night?”

“Bartendar.”

“Well, you’re full of useful talents.”

“Um, ok.”

“Besides, those of us of the faith have to keep an eye out for opportunities to put others on the path.”

I point to his talisman.  Someone has chosen Dharma for him.

“Huh?  Oh this.  I’m not sure how much I still believe.  Nirvana seems such a long ways away from Seattle.”

I smirk.

“Ok, that sounded really stupid.  I meant about believing.”

“Well, Nick Sakaki, you see there, I might be able to help you out.”

Into the Memento: Nick Sakaki

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2009 by vampirony

I’m new at this writing thing.  At least in the Memento.  But a Skype to Bruno did two things: settled his worries, at least, for the moment and gave me a methodology that the guardian text describes to unlock the powers of the book.  I laughed.  Apparently I AM supposed to talk to it.  Writing is encouraged, so I scribble a few details.  But I’m supposed to tell the book a story. 

I sit at the writing desk, make myself comfortable, take a breath to relax, remove all distractions, and focus.  So here it goes:

I arrive at the Russian Deli about half past 12.  I’m hard pressed to believe this building exists just a short 10 minute walk from my ritzy hotel.  The lot beside it is an abandoned KFC surrounded by fencing.  The cranes that dominate the Bellevue skyline must be looking to gobble this place up.  Inside, only a few elderly customers shuffle about.  An ancient Russian woman stands like the Iron Curtain behind the counter, arms folded, daring me to approach.  I decide to take a seat just as the door opens and Nick Sakaki bustles in.  5’11” maybe, thin, maybe 24 if a day, rumpled ill-fitting suit, spiky hair (seemingly not by choice).  He’s riffling through papers in a beat-up messenger bag, not paying attention as he knocks into a table, barely phased, then looks up distracted, seeing me.

“Uh, you here to see the rental?”the office

I see the Buddhist talisman around his neck, wonder which parent gave him that.  Look him in the face again.  Or girlfriend.

I stand, put out my hand.  “Sophie Quinn.”

He rallies, firm hand shake.  “Nick Sakaki.  Sorry I’m late.”

“Better late than never.”

“Uh, yeah, right.  The entrance is through the back here.”  He walks past the deli counter ignoring The Curtain as he digs in his bag.  I watch him disappear and return in a moment.  “Um, that’s not right.”  He keeps searching in the bag then finally grabs the lot, slaps it down on the nearest table and flips through until he picks one.  “The space is upstairs.  Five rooms.  I coulda sworn the stairs up were in the back of the deli.”  His face screws up as he reads the paper.  Upside down.

“A new property for you?”

“This isn’t it.  Crap!  Excuse me.”  He approaches the counter and I take a breath as the Iron Curtain prepares to fall.  But just as he starts to ask, she turns and disappears through a doorway.  “What the?” 

We can hear the staccato of rapid fire Russian as Iron Curtain returns with a teenager smacking her gum and looking utterly bored in a black hoodie.  In August.  “What do you want?”  Her accent is barely there.

“Hi.  I’m supposed to be showing the upstairs space.  Can you help me out?”

“We’re very busy today.”

He tosses a look around.  “Yeah I can see that.  Look, I just need to find the door.  I’ve got a key.”

It’s like watching chess.  “I can’t leave my grandmother alone.  She’s fragile.”

I bite my lip so as not to laugh as Nick takes a long measured look at the Iron Curtain who suddenly gives him a gap-toothed smile.

“Fragile.  Right.  No worries, if you can point me in the right direction, I won’t take any more of your time.  I can see you’re in your lunch hour rush .”

Indignantly:  “We run a succesful business here.”

“And I’m just trying to do some business for your landlord.”

It hits a nerve but unlike anything I think he intended.  She visible cowers.  “We’ve done nothing wrong.  We’ve paid up.”  Even  Grandma Iron notices the change and a quick exchange in Russian happens.  My Russian is rusty so I miss it all.

“I’m sure you have, kid.  Look, if you just point me toward the door, it saves me having to call the landlord and explaining how I lost a potential renter because you folks were too overwhelmed with patrons to help.”

The teenager and the grandmother exchange glances and the girl nods.  “I will show you.”  She comes around the counter and begins to walk toward the front door.  Nick follows but stops next to me.

“Now, Ms. Quinn, if you’d follow me and my young associate here.  Let’s take a look, shall we?”