5 - Vampire the Masquerade
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Collecting a DebtI headed through the parking garage and took the tunnel down to the beach. It was a small, secluded strip of sand, hardly ever used. It was bordered on the left by the Santa Monica Pier and on the right by the cliffs. A chain link fence guarded some steps that led up the cliff. I figured that was where Chemist and his gang lived. On the beach were four vampires and a human. The human approached. "That way," she said. "Up the steps to the house. Talk to E, the surfer with the girl first." She pointed to a pair of vampires. I said thanks and began to talk to the guy known as E. "Listen, we"re tired of you types running us off," E said. "We don"t bother anyone and mind our business. We"re getting sick of it." "That"s cool," I responded. "Can you help me out and give me some information?" "You mean you are not here to run us off?" E answered my question with a question. "No, I didn"t plan to," I said. "I just want to talk. You get bothered often?" "Not a lot," E said, "but too much. Some group called the Sabbat or something like that is hunting us, saying we are the harbingers of Armageddon, or some such nonsense. Lately they"ve taking to try and kill us." The Sabbat. Jack had warned me about them. This was another warning. "You"re all vampires, except for the lady. What clan are you? And who is she?" "The lady is Marie," E said. "She is a psychic. She has a business up on the pier, and hangs with us at night. We are known as Thinbloods. We"re vampires, but not like you types. We are pretty weak. What clan are you?" "I don"t know," I said. "They call me Caitiff, because I don"t know what clan my sire belonged to. I guess I have to figure it out for myself. But I have an intuitive feeling that some shit is going to come down between the vampires of the city and the Sabbat. It might be good for you to get out of town." "Me and Lily," and here E nodded to the girl standing next to him, "are an item. We"ve been thinking of it. What I don"t understand is the rules and so forth." "Look, E," I said, and I was dead serious, "I don"t understand them either. I"m learning. But I have a bad feeling about the L. A. area. You and your buddies should get out of town. The sooner the better. As I learn anything, I will share with you." With that, I headed over to the gate. It was locked, so I used my new lock pick to open it. Funny thing, how I knew a lock pick would come in handy. I headed up the steps and when I reached the top, I was looking across a shabby yard to the rear of a beat-up beach house. There was a porch, with the light on, and some guy having a smoke was standing guard. I stayed low and in the shadows and worked around to the front. Some people were coming and going. It was obvious that there were drug deals taking place. I decided to enter from the rear. I circled back to the porch, crept up on the guard, and jumped him like I was going to feed. Except I broke his neck. Being a vampire did have advantages. He had a nasty knife, and I took it. I figured that it might come in handy. I entered through the rear, and two tough-looking guys with guns were standing there. "Who the fuck are you?" one said, by way of a greeting. "I"m looking for Chemist," I said calmly. "He"s got some stuff that belongs to a friend of mine. His name is Mercurio. Like some Astrolite and a wallet. I came for it." One guy laughed, raised his gun, a Saturday Night Special, and put a round in my belly. I watched as the wound closed and the slug fell on the floor. Now I was angry. The bastard had ruined my shirt. I gripped my knife and cut the throat of the guy who shot me. The other guy was pointing his gun and backing away. I moved quickly. I tackled him and started to feed. I didn"t kill him, but I left him almost dead. He was a druggie anyway. Someone heard the shot, and came into the room with their gun raised. I blinked, and dropped him into a trance. Then I fed on him as well. Two other guys came into the room, both with guns. I figured I had to end this fast, because the shots would alert the police. One of the other guys said, "Drop the gun or you are fuckin" dead! Do it now!" What he didn"t know was that, as a vampire, I am already dead. And vampires are fast. We are much quicker than humans, especially Clan Brujah. I moved. It was over in about two seconds. One down, and one standing with a load of shit in his pants. "Okay," I said, "I need Astrolite, a wallet, and some ammo for this gun. You going to get it or you want to end up like your buddy?" The guy sputtered. He got me about fifty rounds for my newly acquired pistol, and the Astrolite. I put it in my backpack. He didn"t know where the wallet was, but he showed me the cash they had made tonight. I took that. Then I left, going back down to the beach. And I had left just in time, as I had heard the sound of sirens in the distance. I chuckled, imagining how he was going to explain to the police the events at this house. I hit the beach, waved to E and Marie, and headed to Mercurio"s apartment. But first I had to stop at Tripp"s to get a new shirt.