12 - Vampire the Masquerade
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BOOM!I put two rounds into the Sabbat before he whacked me with his claws. He was a vampire, and he hit me with superhuman strength. It hurt like hell. And the claws cut deep. The third round dropped him to all fours. I decided to back away to reorient, and that was a mistake. Opening the distance between the Sabbat and me gave him some recovery. He stood and charged. I fired two more rounds into him, and he hit the floor again. I put the final round into his head, and then he turned into a pile of ash. I knelt and reloaded the shotgun. My left side, where he had clawed me, hurt like hell. And it was still bleeding. I remembered what Jack had told me about the Sabbat. Show no mercy. But he had also told me something else. He said that the Sabbat often took humans and embraced them. They used them as shock troops, or cannon fodder, in a battle with the Camarilla. They also used them to frighten humans. They were completely, for the most part, unaware of their powers. I grabbed a blood pack from my backpack, one I had brought along in case of emergency, drained it, and started moving. I had no clue how much time I had left before the astrolite exploded. I ran through the door, and started running, with vampire speed, through the old train yard. I was dodging the old cars when another Sabbat dropped right in front of me. This time I did not run away, instead I charged and closed. The six rounds in my shotgun went off quickly. Of course, four were fired into his chest at point blank range. He did get a swat, with those ugly claws, into my right side, but I did not falter. The fifth round into his chest turned him to ash. I ran like hell, found the old mail car, scooted onto the platform, and curled up in a ball behind the car, hoping to use it as a shield against the blast. One thing that I thought was extremely peculiar was the large and beautiful white wolf standing in the doorway of the freight and passenger station, looking at me. It seemed friendly, but out of place. I felt the shock wave and vibration from the explosion. I could feel the heat, even though I was sitting behind a steel railroad car. I stood and looked. The warehouse was burning like hell, flames and smoke rising high in the sky. "Good job," I thought. Then the wolf barked at me. "What the hell?" I said. The wolf barked again, and turned into a quite good looking human. I checked the aura and discovered it was a vampire. "Wow!" I said. "You must be a werewolf!" I was playing it dumb. "No, I am not," the man said. "I am a vampire, like you. I am of Clan Gangrel. My name is Becket. Was the warehouse your work?" "Guilty as charged." "You"ve done a great job," Becket said. "However, young one, you had best be careful. The Sabbat will probably be hunting you now. You will have to watch your back. May I ask your name?" "Randy." "Well, Randy," Becket said, "I normally do not frequent the L. A. area. But vampires here report a heaviness, or similar feeling, in the air. Can you sense it? Have you noticed anything unusual?" I told Becket no, I did not sense a heaviness in the air. I did tell him about the Thinbloods on the beach, the ghosts at the hotel, and Jeanette/Therese. "You may be too new to feel the heaviness or unease," Becket said. "Ghosts are common, but I tend to ignore them. They usually stay pretty much to themselves. The Voermann sisters are probably Malkavian. They can be powerful allies, but be careful when dealing with them. Or, with her, as the case may be." "What of the Thinbloods?" I asked. "Thinbloods are a much weaker form a vampire," Becket said. "I am a vampire historian of sorts, and the legends claim that they are harbingers of a vampire Apocalypse. The Apocalypse will be a purging of all vampires, no matter what their age or strength. A thinning of the herd, so to speak." "Interesting, Becket. I never heard anything like that, except from the Thinbloods themselves," I stated. "Well, Randy, that is what I do," Becket said. "Farewell, my friend. You should get downtown and report the Prince LaCroix on what you have done. Perhaps we shall meet again. Or perhaps not. Do be careful." I decided that I would talk with Bertram before I went downtown, meet with the Prince, and then I would talk with Jack. I had a feeling that Bertram and Jack would be straight shooters with me. I watched Becket turn back into a white wolf and run away. I headed for my cab and told the driver to take me to Bertram. I had a few questions I wanted answered.