Flying in Style
Nick shut his laptop and leaned his head back in the leather airplane seat with a sigh. All of the Brabant Foundation business was caught up, nothing was expected of him for the next few weeks, and he was free to go to Paris and enjoy himself. He looked out the window, enjoying the play of sun on clouds, and the warmth on his skin. He must remember to thank Kat for the gift of this special glass for the plane. Seeing the sun, being in it, he felt almost human.
He suddenly realized that he hadn’t thought about the idea of becoming mortal in a long time. Meeting Trapper had changed all of that for him. For the first time in eons, Nick actually enjoyed being a vampire, though he’d never admit that to LaCroix. He was seeing everything through new eyes with Trapper. Things that he took for granted, like flying, were exciting. Life was good, and he had to thank that blonde Seattleite that had walked into his life, and his heart. He could honestly say that he was happy.
Nick smiled to himself and checked his watch. Landing in Paris soon, and then the fun would start. He took the small, elegant box out of his pocket and opened it, to look at it in the light. “Ornate without being ostentatious,” he thought, closing the lid.
Alice, the attendant, brought him a glass of his “usual”. “We’ll be landing in half an hour, sir. The limousine will be waiting for you.” Nick nodded as she returned to the rear of the plane to prepare for landing.
Buckling up, Nick leaned back into the headrest and let his mind wander. It was amazing how much had happened in the last few years. Don had become captain, and turned out to be remarkably good at it. He had a way of dealing with people and putting them at ease. Everyone on the force loved him. He and Myra had gotten through that bad patch after Jenny was rescued. It was a shame that Don’s daughter couldn’t be helped with therapy, but I guess we all have to find our own way. As soon as she was old enough, she left home. Nick had kept discreet tabs on her, just enough to know what city she was in, but she’d dropped out of sight in Las Vegas a week or so ago. Thank God they still had Jimmy at home. He was a bit younger, and a straight A student. ‘Sweet kid,’ Nick thought to himself. Natalie had married Benton Fraser, and was talking about retiring to Vancouver or Victoria. She certainly deserved some happiness, especially after what he’d put her through. Trapper had mentioned that Evie had gone back to school, and finished her anthropology degree. He’d have to show her some of the artifacts he’d collected over the years. And then there was Trapper.
They were seeing each other every couple of weeks, either she’d fly up to Toronto, or he’d fly to Seattle. They didn’t seem to be able to get enough of each other’s company. He smiled, thinking about the last time he saw her, two weeks ago. She had wanted to go hunting. Knowing that Nick didn’t hunt people anymore, she suggested that they go elk hunting in the Olympic National Forest. He’d forgotten so much of the enjoyment of the hunt, but running through the woods with Trapper after prey, it was like putting on a familiar pair of gloves. After they brought down the 8 point buck, and drank their fill, they’d made wild, bloody love in the woods next to the carcass. Trapper knew some people that needed the meat, so they left it on their doorstep with a note. She made him feel alive again, there was no doubt about it. He had no more regrets about being a vampire. If he hadn’t been, he’d be dust now, and would never have met her. And THAT would be tragic.
This time in Paris would make up for some of the absence. He readied himself for landing.
It’s All A Game
“Zombie s at six o clock,” Angelique lifted the automactic rifle in preparation to defend her ragtag group of suvivors.
“Noted,” Sukh acknowleged as she lifted her chainsaw and pulled the startup cord. The whine of the saw slowed down a few of the uncoming zombies, but most kept coming, lured by the scent of fresh human.
“Fuckers,” Tom, one of the suvivors, lifted his pump action and took aim.
“Fire, Tom!” Angelique watched as a zombie went down, a huge chunk of the creature’s head exploded in black and gray.
“ Go Sukh!” Angelique watched as the redhead waded into battle, the chainsaw loping off heads as Tom contined to load and fire his weapon.
Angelique aimed and fired her rifle. The first row of creatures fell, their heads shredded by the repid fire of the automatic fire. The rifle jammed.
“Damnit!” She growled as she ripped off her helmet.
The test lab of Nitecrawler Games appeared as the test of the newest high tech simulation game stopped.
Sukh pulled of her equipment with a grin. Tom did the same, and started to exit the test room.
“I’m hitting the lab. I’ll put in my report on the weapon I used.”
“Lucius, it jammed agaion in the same place. Get someone on that glitch.” Angelique yanked off her gloves and stomoped towards the control booth of the holosimulation area. “ Gamers with this kind of money will not toleate this kind of mistake.”
“Birkoff, find the glitch and correct it.” LaCroix suggested in a silky growl.
“Birky, I’ll give you a hand,” Sukh entered the control booth as Birkoff started to hustle off.
“ Sure, you’ll be able to help me pinpoint the damage.” Birkoff consulted his computer and set it to download to the other lab. “I need Tom’s imput too.”
As soon as the mortals hustled off, LaCroix turned to Angelique. “I think, Dark Venus, that we need some time away from this project. The Paris Gaming convention is soon. Perhaps basking in the success of the last game would help. We were nominated for some awards for it.”
“I suppose,” Aangelique sighed. “New Jereselum after Dark did do very well in the MMO online subscription category. I do think Micah should come as well.”
“Go where?” Angelique’s Immortal brother asked as he stepped into the booth. “I need this for the next test of that new time battle game.”
“The Paris gamer convention.” LaCroix shot Angelique a brief glare. “Maybe this will improve you mood after not finding your beloved Hanna.”
“I could usea break.” Micah. “Let me see if Duncan can take over for a bit and tweak the Culledon battle game sequence.”
“I also want Sukh, Spike and Angel in Paris as well. Have Willow and Tara work on the the paranormal battle game with Oz.” Angelique paused. “Wait, give Oz to Duncan as an assistant. Get Willow ,Faith and Tara on with Tom on the Zombie battle and the paranormal game. Have Giles make the travel arrangments. Then get him on checking the spells for the parnormal game to make sure they are beign in RL. I don’t need a lawsuit from an idiot that accidentally summoned a Demon at this point in the company’s success.”
Hell Hath No Fury
April 21st, Las Vegas, NV
Jenny stared intently as she watched Hanna clean up her mess. Every move was deliberate and unhurried, as if they had all the time in the world. Which, Jenny thought to herself, they did.
“Don’t be too sure about that, Jennifer dear. Thoughts like that will cause you to be arrogant, and arrogance will get you killed,” Hanna chided as she tossed the last chunk of Tony into the vat before her. With each person, Hanna insisted on preparing the room so there would be no evidence left of any kind. Plastic tarp, the kind laid down in holes that had been dug to keep water out, like with pools and graves when it rains, was laid out on the floor. Other than the G-chair and one table for instruments, the vat was the only other piece of “furniture”, if it could be called that, in the room.
Jenny still didn’t know what it was that Hanna did to keep the sound from escaping. She would simply stand in the corner, not interfering, letting Jenny vent her pain and fury. No matter how much any of them screamed, begged, no sound ever escaped that room.
Tony was only the third one so far. Lance, she had made last for almost 4 days before his heart finally gave out. Hanna offered to make him a ghoul, give him some of her blood as he died so that he would remain half alive, but Jenny declined. She wanted to get to the others, and Lance got boring when all he would do was whimper. She wanted them to scream. Needed to hear more than just “Please stop!” Jerry only lasted a day. Hanna fetched him while she slept (Jenny thought about asking how she was able to move around during the day), and when Jenny saw his face, she went straight for his throat. Literally.
Hanna didn’t chastise her for killing him so quickly. She never criticized anything Jenny did, and only the once with Lance did she even offer to help. This was Jenny’s vengeance, only she had the right to it, and Hanna made sure she had no interruptions.
Jenny fingered the serrated knife she had used on Tony. The pieces Hanna was discarding slowly, making sure each was fully eaten before tossing in the next piece, Jenny had cut off him. She cut each and every inch of his body off a piece at a time while he screamed. She almost gagged him to death when she cut off his penis and shoved it piece by piece into his mouth, forcing him with her hand working his jaw then stroking his throat, to eat it. She made sure she left out the tendons, anything that he could have choked on, just feeding him chunks of flesh. When he tried to vomit, she made him eat anything that came up. Hanna taught her the trick of being able to glamour him, and she found it hilarious to make him act as if he relished the taste of vomit and his own flesh.
Rather that stitching the flesh where his penis had been, Hanna showed her how to use her own blood to seal the wound: just a little bit of it, traced across the flesh, and concentrating on knitting it together. She had said most Kindred used the trick, only with their saliva, to hide bite marks after they had fed. She had said it was more effective when blood was used, but that it risked the chance of making the person into a ghoul. But neither of them were worried about that with Tony: he wasn’t going to live long enough to become a ghoul.
She watched Hanna’s face, trying to see if there was any flicker of emotion as she put the last chunk in the vat. She said this was a trick she had learned from August in Casa Loma. That was before Spike had grabbed Jenny, so Jenny didn’t know anything about it. When she tried to ask, Hanna looked at her, the normally violet eyes glowing red, and commanded in her broken glass voice, “Don’t ask.”
Still, Jenny thought the piranhas were a clever touch. They stripped away everything, leaving only bones. Hanna said when they were done in Vegas, she would deal with the bones and the piranhas. They only had two more left here; everyone else on the “List” had moved on to other places. And they were going to hunt them all down. Hanna actually remembered each one chronologically, and it was that way they would die. In order. If they had to go back to somewhere simply because one of the people was there, just it wasn’t their position on the “List”, then they would go back. Hanna was absolute in her certainty that each of Jenny’s “demons” needed to be dealt with in the order they had harmed her. Jenny didn’t mind. She just wanted them. She wanted to feel each of their lives as she ripped it away from them, wanted to feel their fear, their pain, their terror. Just like what they did to her.
“There are only so many though,” Jenny whispered, almost sadly. “When we get to the end…”
“I’ve been saving him.”
Jenny looked at her, completely at a loss.
“He isn’t dead. I made certain of it. I put word out, everywhere. Others are watching him for me. And everyone knows, no matter what, that he is to be kept alive for me. Even if they have to stake him and put him into Torpor until I can collect him.” She looked at Jenny and smiled, and Jenny almost cringed at the light in Hanna’s eyes.
“Davistch will be last, Jennifer dear. He survives, until you are ready. Just remember that whenever you revenge yourself on these human monsters. The real one, the one who started this for you, waits at the end.”
If anyone could have seen them then, the terror would have been absolute. Their smiles were identical, promising agony, suffering, eternal pain…
WAR: Birth (2)
About 2 hours after “Birth”, Las Vegas, NV
She finished smoothing the dark green, rayon dress over the sleeping girl’s tanned legs. Everything about the girl, from the tips of her toes to the crown of her head, radiated peace. She was perfectly, absolutely safe and knew it, even in her sleep.
Hanna sat softly down beside her on the bed, a brush in her hand, and slowly began to stroke it through the girl’s long, coal-black hair. She wasn’t aware of it at all, but she began to hum quietly a wordless tune. Had she noticed, she would have recognized it as the same tune her father once hummed to her as a child, whenever she grew frightened. Even in the midst of a nightmare, he could sit by her bedside, humming it to her, and her dream would grow peaceful.
Her father. After almost a millennium, she couldn’t remember the slightest detail of his face. But she could still hear the sound of his humming.
She stopped brushing for a moment, her index finger stroking down the side of the girl’s cheek softly. Did she remember anything of her father? Did she want to? She knew the precise moment Jennifer Schanke had run away from home, because she had kept a constant vigil over her after she had left New Jerusalem. Her parents kept her at home, thinking it best to keep her feeling safe and secure. All the friends Jenny had at school and around the neighborhood were shut out completely, not by Don or Myra, but by Jenny herself. Whenever a friend would come to see how she was feeling, bring a present for a birthday, Jenny would simply walk into her room and close the door, refusing to respond to anyone. Myra has suffered a nervous breakdown, consumed by guilt over the fact that she had been completely incapable of protecting her only child. Don had tried to comfort her, tried to make her see that it was in no way her fault, but Myra refused to accept that she had no part of the blame.
Don started drinking, until Reese had to suspend him for a week for drunk driving. Hanna intervened then, mentally dominating Don into kicking the habit. She left him with the thought that he had gotten Jenny back alive and unspoiled, despite the things she had seen, and that there were plenty of terrible things in the world that happen that a parent is powerless to stop. She filled his mind with her own memories of Racine and his Norman cohort that had come to her father’s manor. She showed him how her father had died, knowing what the soldiers would do to his daughter, and being unable to
Myra had come in the living room while she was there, and Hanna quickly added her into her impromptu “therapy”…
“The only ones who truly have any blame in this are either dead, or soon will be,” she assured the both of them in her ruined voice. She smiled at Don whenever he grimaced at the sound. Naturally, she could have healed her shredded vocal chords, but felt neither the need or the desire to.
“And you must take comfort in the fact that Jennifer merely saw things no one should see, whether a grown man, a woman, and certainly not a child. Her mind and spirit were overwhelmed, but they can recover. Things could have been so much worse, especially with Davistch’s fascination with pure, unspoiled, little girls.”
Myra wept uncontrollably, and Don cradled her head against his chest. “Do you have to say that?”
“Would you rather I lie to you? You both hold yourselves to blame for things that were beyond your power to stop. I am simply telling you that you must be thankful, for Jennifer’s sake, that Davistch forbade anyone else from touching her, and that he himself restrained his perverse desires, for the simple fact he wanted to savor her as long as possible. Imagine if he had not! Imagine if he had done to Jennifer all of those horrid, evil, perverse things
he has spent hundreds of years enjoying! Imagine the state she would be in now, had she survived such treatment! I tell you now, the only reason he did not was because he had planned to Embrace her on the night he took her virginity. He had decided that SHE was his perfect little girl, that he would keep her “perfect” forever. For some, like him, the blood becomes sweeter when the suffering is the greatest. He wanted her ripe with pain, with absolute anguish of the soul. When the time was right, he would have raped her quite literally to the point of death, then he would have drained her, and
Embraced her. I swear to you, Donald, Myra, it could have, and should have, been so much worse.”
“SHOULD HAVE!?” Myra screamed at her.
“Had I not saved her from Davistch, he would have. I doubt Donald told you anything of me, or what was done to me, when I allowed myself to be caught, so that Jennifer could go free.”
“But I thought…Micah…Jon…Jonas…I thought you let August take you so they could escape?” Don asked her, his eyebrows drawn down in puzzlement.
“I did. And I sent my spirit out to Jennifer in the Prince’s Tower, showed her the way out, to save her from Davistch. You do remember the cemetery, do you not, Donald?” she smiled at him, and he immediately began to shrink back into the couch.
“I wish I didn’t!”
“You have no idea how much I agree with that sentiment, Donald. I would definitely rather not remember being buried, bloodless, in quick-drying cement. And I could spend the rest of my immortality never remembering having to rip my way up to the surface through it.”
Don looked at her sharply, a disturbing thought settling in his mind. “You’re not holding a grudge against Jenny for that, are you?”
Hanna laughed, the sound of it assaulting them so strongly that Myra slammed her hands against her ears, whimpering, and would have run from the room had Don not held her tight against him. As it was, he was almost inclined to run himself. “Why in the world would you think something so incredibly ridiculous as that? I could say I have never harmed an innocent in my life, and that had been true up until Casa Loma. Let us leave it as I have never willingly harmed a innocent, and I would never dream of holding a grudge against Jennifer, or Micah for that matter, for the consequences of a course of action I chose. If there was a need to hold a grudge, August and Davistch, perhaps Divia as well, would have been the only ones that
I would have held to an accounting. August, quite obviously, received her punishment. Divia I will leave to Lucius, Nicholas, and Trapper.”
Don looked straight at her, was going to ask her about Davistch until he noticed her eyes. Where before he had seen them change from violet to coal black, now they were burning red. His mouth dropped open, the question dead on his lips, and he felt suddenly very certain he, Myra, and Jenny were all about to die.
“Do not be foolish, Donald Schanke. I would not have troubled myself with saving your child, nor would I have come here to try to help you with your ordeal, if I had intended to kill you. And believe me this, if you believe nothing else I say,” she leaned forward a little, and Don drew back away from her, “if I wanted to kill you, you would never see me coming.”
Myra pressed her hands tighter to her ears, trying to shut out that horrid voice, and Don started stroking his hand up and down her back, trying to comfort her.
Hanna sighed. She knew she was doing more harm than not, but she truly wanted to help them. She had tried easing the memories in Jenny’s mind while the girl slept, but the child proved to be a Resistor. So, having little choice in the matter, Hanna resolved to try to alleviate the guilt Don and Myra were feeling. She shook her head, thinking to herself how little success she was having with them as well. They simply refused to believe there was nothing they could have done to prevent what happened. Jenny, however, was stuck in a trap of guilt, feeling that somehow she was to blame. Hanna knew precisely how she felt, since she had spent the better part of her immortality believing the same thing about Racine and the Norman soldiers that had raped her for weeks. She of course knew now that most victims of abuse harbor feelings of guilt and responsibility over the abuse done to them, but in Jenny’s case, it angered her almost to the point of madness. She knew Spike had taken Jenny because of August’s orders. August knew she would be obligated to save Jenny. She also knew it would make it all the worse for Hanna if Davistch had the girl, given the man’s tastes. So in a very real sense, Hanna was to blame for all that Don, Myra and Jenny were going through.
“I am not helping at all. I realize this, and I am terribly sorry.” She sighed again as she rose, turning to leave. “I simply could not let this go on without trying to be of some help, since the child suffered only to spite me. Since I am only causing you more grief, I will go. Only know this,” her voice grew stronger, more forceful as she turned her head to look at Don over her left shoulder, “Davistch will never lay a finger on her. I swear it to you, on all that I hold dear to me.”
Don met her eyes, knowing she meant what she said. He didn’t like her, couldn’t like her, but he did know he could trust her word if given. He nodded once at her, understanding completely…
She moved the brush again, watching the light play along Jenny’s freshly washed hair. “Poor Donald. If you knew what your little girl forced upon herself, trying to banish the demons visited upon her mind…”
Once she finished brushing Jenny’s hair, she climbed up into the bed and lay beside the girl, occasionally alternating between stroking her hair and her cheek. She had promised the girl, but she couldn’t bring herself to the act, not without knowing if she was absolutely aware of the consequences. As she waited for Jenny to wake up, she remembered back over the years since New Jerusalem was utterly destroyed. She had spent almost all of that time watching over Jenny, trying to keep her safe. She watched her since before she ran away, always hoping beyond hope that Jenny would call out for her, just once, asking for help. She knew if she rushed in to “save” Jenny at any point, the girl would grow all the more indignant, and slip further into the abyss. So she was forced to wait. Forced to watch as she lost her virginity to a pimp and his six best friends. Forced to watch as she was sold to anyone for any price. Forced to watch the beatings, the rapes…all the horrors Jenny endured.
She was never able to stop anything from happening, knowing how Jenny would feel about it. She ached, burned, for years to make each one of the bastards pay. She never forgot a single one of them, or where to find them. And now, after Jenny finally reached out to her, finally accepted her help, she waited. If Jenny was still certain once Hanna was through trying to dissuade her, if she truly wanted to…
“We shall see,” she whispered as she lay her head down on the pillow next to Jenny.
She closed her eyes, and as sleep came to her, she revisited the memories of each man that had ever raped Jenny…
What they looked like…
Where they lived…
April 20th, Las Vegas, NV
She held her tiny hands before her, concentrating on holding the limp form with only the power of her mind. While there were plenty Caineites that could use telekinesis, it still wasn’t a very common ability. She had only come by the ability after diablerizing…
She furiously locked her mind on the task before her as her control started to waver. Best not think about anything but what was right before her.
As best as she could, she lowered the naked form into the steaming bath, trying to go slowly so that the water wouldn’t splash everywhere. She could have limited herself to performing a sponge bath, reducing her contact with water as much as possible, but she never considered it more than a second. She may have repaired the girl’s body from all the incredible damage that had been done, but the child was absolutely filthy, covered in blood, urine, semen, beer, and feces.
Once the still form was almost completely submerged, she relaxed her will. She drew a chair near the tub, dreading what was to come. Since the cave…
She shuddered a little at the thought of it, trying not to remember. She had already been vastly stronger than most other Caineites due to her age, Generation and training. When one had instructors who had been using their abilities for millennium, and spent almost a millennium learning as much as one could, the results tended to make others look infantile. The Diablerie had changed her even more drastically. She was stronger by far than any other Caineite living, save the remaining few Third Generations. Lamech, one of the three Childer of Caine himself, was the only Second left “alive”, and he had been August’s Sire. He had come to her after she had left New Jerusalem, once she had killed the assassins that had destroyed what was left of
the city, and would have killed her for the Sin she committed. Why Lamech had spared her after she Diablerized his Childe she didn’t understand, unless he understood the true reason she had done it.
Her abilities were so grossly outrageous now it made her sick to think of what she was truly capable of. “Power corrupts,” she whispered, her broken voice almost harsher than Davistch’s had been,” and Absolute Power corrupts absolutely.”
She shook her head as she took the soft sponge and submerged it in the water. Before that day, she was incapable of even standing in a puddle of water without becoming incapacitated. Now, her arm was in the tub up to her elbow, and it barely bothered her. She snickered a little then, at the memory of August.
Grabbing a bottle of gel soap, she pulled the wet sponge out of the water, covering it with the soap. She put the bottle down, and slowly began to scrub the filth off of her lost little darling…