kt6550 Avatar
A general fiction story by


Submitted Dec 8, 2015, 10:22:07 PM

5 - Vampire the Masquerade

Collecting a Debt

I 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.


BeckyB Avatar


Commented Jul 1, 2007, 1:43:27 PM
I like the concept. If you plan on making this a book-length story, then some of the character information can be woven in more subtlely.

I like the hints that Mr. Caroway has traces of magical ability that helps him track down the sorceresses. Are there others with this ability? Or is this a gift he tries to keep secret from everyone? If he is paranoid about being turned in as a magic-user, that would explain the hard shell he's built around himself and give credibility to his tyranical behaviors.

The part where the servant blurts out in front of Frederick that Rinoa had been found out on the grounds does not feel natural. His arrival causes his own wife and daughter anxiety (I used to be married to a man like that, so I can identify with their nervousness). A mere servant, obviously no more than a piece of furniture in Frederick's eyes, would not have the temerity to speak out of turn like that. Unless the servant was trying to get Rinoa in trouble for some reason, she would not want to say anything that would unleash Mr. Caroway's wrath. You had also explained that Frederick had the ability to sense a sorceress, so he wouldn't need the servant to tell him that anything was amiss.

Question: There are obviously male magic-users in this world. Is there an organization hunting them down as well, or are only women targeted? Why?

I'm confused about setting: some scenes are modern and some are medieval. I would expect a group that drives a bus to fight with guns rather than swords and arrows. Also, an organization that intravenously drugs prisoners within scientific laboratories (unless it is an unregulated underground operation) would probably be subject to some governmental interference and red tape with procedures for interrogation and torture. A medieval group of "witch hunters" would have more freedom to put on a public execution. A modern society would have some bystanders parading around with "Save the Witch" picket signs or other protestors. Also, the bus has a lavatory, which leads me to believe indoor plumbing has been invented. I guess there needs to be more of a sense of the social climate so that this all seems more credible.

This would take Rinoa's rescue out of the public eye, but consider having her rescued out from under her father's nose in the facility she is being held. Let us see more of Frederick's dilemma about whether his daughter has been substituted by a sorceress or whether she has merely been possessed. If there was any chance that his prisoner was truly his daughter, he would hesitate to have her executed. What risks is he taking by executing her so swiftly. There is an assumption that the 'real' Rinoa is being held for ransom somewhere. If he kills her impersonator, will that jeapordize his chances of getting his daughter back? Might he rather wait for a ransom message from her abductors? Also, if his prisoner is sedated and asleep most of the time, what kind of reliable results will he get from her interrogation? What is his job description, if you will? Does he just identify and capture sorceresses and recommend their execution? Or does he allow them to be "studied" so that the Anti-Sorceress Group can counteract thier magic?

There are obviously enough sorceresses out there to give General Caroway some job security. What is thier impact on this society? Do the sorceresses as a whole have some malevolent purpose to hex the general population. Is there perhaps just a single "militant" faction of sorceresses that give the rest of them a bad name?

Is General Caroway always 100% certain or does he make mistakes? What are the consequences of those mistakes? Does he try to cover them up? Does he believe he is invincible or dous he have doubts? Has he got the whole region cowering in fear in case he points a finger at an innocent person? What about those whose green eyes are a product of genetics, not magic? (by the way, I like the hint that one of the scientists has a hint of green in his eyes)

A note about the metal collar: my imagination pictured it to be dog-collar size--1 to 2 inches wide. I would think that would get in the way when the axeman was trying to chop her head off. Perhaps more detail is necessary. Also, metal conducts heat so once the collar had been on her neck for a minute, it would be body temperature--unless it had some magical or scientific property that made it feel icy. Again, the development of the collar leads me to believe that this society is technologically advanced.

I like the father vs. daughter conflict. There would be more tension if we sensed Frederick's deep paternal love for his daughter (though he masks it) and if we have some idea of how deeply Rinoa cares about her father and wants his love/approval. By switching points of view between Frederick and Rinoa, you're allowing the reader to develop sympathy for both of them, so we'll care about how events affect each of them throughout the story. We'll understand why Frederick is motivated to do this job, we'll see how his decisions and actions affect him personally, and we'll know that he is not merely "the bad guy." Rinoa, will overcome the preconceived notions of sorcery that her father has reinforced during her upbringing, will give us insight into the sorceress culture and perhaps seek to enlighten the rest of society (and ultimately her father) that witches aren't all bad. I can almost imagine that she and her dad might end up on the same team, rooting out the evil factions, but making peace with the rest.
laney Avatar


Commented Jul 4, 2007, 4:32:41 PM
Wow, thanks for all of the feedback! I have kind of been writing this story on my own for a little while, so it's good to get a feel of what the impression is and what questions arise.

As for your questions -- some of them are answered in time, and some of them admittedly, I have not thought of myself although now that you bring them up...I realize I should have.

I wanted the setting to be a mix, but I do see that I should have been more clear about what role the government plays in all of this. I didn't explain too much about the mix, however, since this is from the perspective of the characters and this is what they know.

This is explained later, but most magic-users have been tolerated, although often discriminated against until as you said, a militant faction formed and tried to take over. They were suppressed, but this gave people a new fear and allowed those who had originally hated sorceresses in the first place to encourage and call for hunting down and getting rid of them. Caraway is the leader of such operations, and of the Anti-Magic Academy, where students and soldiers are trained.

There are male and female magic-users, but I stuck with sorceresses because of the old "witch-hunts" I guess.

I hope the other answers will come in time as the story develops. Thanks again for your suggestions! I will definitely be looking over and revamping many things.