Getting Some Morphine
I spent the day resting. Not in a coffin, but in a bed. I was in a cheap, sleazy apartment on the third floor over a pawnshop. Tripp"s Pawn Shop. The windows were heavily blacked out to allow no sunlight to enter. So much for the myth of vampires resting in coffins.
When I awakened, I knew that I needed to feed. It wasn"t hunger; it was more of a feeling. The sun was not quite down, and I figured I would wait until it was completely set before I ventured out. I also needed to get back downtown to get my car, a trusty Toyota Prius. And I wondered about my house in Malibu.
I decided to check out the apartment and hook up with the Prince"s agent, Mercurio. Then I would play it by ear. My apartment was pretty much empty. The refrigerator had two packs of Type A+ blood, which I thought might come in handy. The desk had a laptop and two notes. I checked the desk drawers first, and found a money clip with $300. There was a note written on a fine white card that read:
"Never have I sensed such power and strength in one so young. Please stop by the chantry to visit with me when you get downtown. Maxmillian Strauss, Tremere Regent."
There was also a handwritten note from Mercurio, informing me that the password for my computer was "sunrise," and I should check in with him.
I logged in and checked my email. There was a bunch of spam, as expected. There was an email from Mercurio informing me that he lived at the Santa Monica apartments on Main St., Apartment 4A. I should stop by as soon as possible. I decided to look for a meal and then I would head for Mercurio"s place.
The meal was easy. The apartment house door opened into an alley, with a dumpster at one end. An old homeless guy stood, and asked me for money. I fed on him. I followed Jack"s rule and did not kill him. But my guess was that he was pretty weak, and probably would not last until the end of the week. I tucked a five-dollar bill into his pocket.
For some reason, I decided to visit the pawnshop first. Tripp was a young guy, outgoing and vivacious. I bought a used backpack for ten dollars, thinking that it would come in handy. I also bought a lock pick. I don"t know why, but some sort of intuition said it would be useful. Next I walked the three blocks to Mercurio"s apartment.
The apartment house was pretty nice. It was easy to find Mercurio"s home. There was a faint trail of blood drops on the floor, which led right to 4A. Oh, in case I did not tell you, a vampire can smell blood, even if it is dried and a few days old. The door was open, and I entered and saw a battered and bloody man lying on the sofa. My guess, which was correct, was that the man was Mercurio.
"Hey, Mercurio!" I shouted. "You dead?"
The man groaned and tried to sit up. I helped him. One eye was swollen shut. He looked like a gang had worked him over with baseball bats or clubs of some sort. The guy was in pain. That was obvious.
"I checked him out," Mercurio burbled. "The guy is called Chemist. He seemed reliable. He mixes up speed and crystal meth and sells it. He was supposed to get the Astrolite for me. Instead, he and his buddies beat the shit out of me and stole my wallet, the bastards." And Mercurio groaned some more.
"Damn," I said. "What the hell do I do now?"
"Ya gotta, ya gotta." And Mercurio groaned again. "Ya gotta get it back. The bastards! Do what ever you types do. Get my wallet and the Astrolite. Fix those sons of bitches!"
"Okay. I"ll help you out," I said. "Where the hell do I have to go?"
"The bastards live in a house, up on a bluff above the beach," Mercurio whispered. "Next to the pier. It"s pretty shabby. See what you can do."
"Okay, Mercurio, I will help you out."
"Oh, please, please," Mercurio said, "can you get me something for the pain?"
"I"ll see what I can do, Mercurio." With that, I headed back out to Main St. On the next block was a small hospital. That was convenient. I should be able to find something for Mercurio"s pain there.
I entered through the ER, and a receptionist informed me to "wait my turn, I would be seen as soon as a doctor was available." I said thank you, and headed out and into an alley. There was a side door to the hospital, and I entered. A sign said that the morgue and blood bank was downstairs, and the ER was to the left. It was good to know I had found the blood bank. I headed upstairs on a hunch, opened a door, and entered. A security guard approached.
"Sorry," the security guard said. "Only authorized hospital personnel allowed. Please leave, sir."
I blinked, and the guy dropped into a trance. It was automatic for me. It just happened. I also felt that I had burnt some blood. I was starting to like this vampire thing, but I knew what Jack meant when he said I had to feed more than a regular vampire. I walked down the hallway, and found two areas that looked like labs of some sort. Both had doors. On was labeled "Controlled Substances Storage," and the other said "Inpatient Pharmacy." I headed to the door to the pharmacy, picked the lock with my new lock pick, and entered. The pharmacist looked at me and smiled.
"Well, sir," he said, with a smile, "how can I help you?"
I dropped him into a trance as well, and searched around until I found some syringes and some morphine. I left, and took a few sips from the still-entranced security guard. I slammed the door as I left, waking the two men. I headed downstairs and to the beach, to find the house where Chemist lived. I wanted to avenge Mercurio.