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Monday, November 18, 2013

On a Roof top

            Tim woke up the way that he usually did after one of his blackouts: on a rooftop, naked, and covered in blood. He closed his eyes again and groaned, the strange, beating ulcer of a conscience deep inside his brain throbbing slightly as he looked at the human remains surrounding him.

            He was lucky: the sun had only barely started to peep over the rooftops of the high rises around him, and even though he was deeply uncomfortable, he at least wasn’t dead. Tim stood up, and his ancient vertebrae ground together and creaked despite the taut, young skin stretched over them, the dawn painting his flesh the color of bruises and corpse tissue.

            He surveyed the damage around him and found his stained, splattered pants long enough to fish a cell phone out of the pocket and hit speed dial, his voice cracked and dry when he growled into the line, “Achan, it’s me. I need a cleanup on the roof. Yes, our roof, by the helipad. And clothes, I need clothes. Hurry, the sun is nearly up.”

            There was a long breath on the line and Achan’s prim yet disapproving voice answered, “Again, sir? Really, Timaeus, I thought we were past this.”

            “Yes, again.” Tim snapped, “And hurry!”

            “What kind of cleanup are we looking at? Ten? Twenty sets of remains?”

            “No,” Tim looked around and did a quick count of the stripped, desiccated skulls lying in the piles of red sludge, “I count roughly four.”

            “Well, at least you are improving.” Achan sniffed, “I’m on my way.”

            Tim severed the connection and sat down under one of the large utility pipes, hoping that the shade would at least help with the ever-approaching sunrise.

            Achan picked an ancient doctor’s satchel as he hurried out of his apartment and towards the elevator. None of what was in the leather bag would have been necessary a hundred years ago. Occasionally, Timaeus would unwittingly bite a victim full of laudanum and he would pay a terrible price for a few days. Hallucinations, tremors, and memory loss were as bad as the symptoms got. Now, it seemed to Achan, that Timaeus was singling out victims who he knew had drug and alcohol tainted blood.

             He adjusted his tie as he got to the door to the roof and slid the deadbolt open. He hurried out onto the concrete and hissed slightly as he felt the weak dawn rays touch his face. Like all revenants, when the rays of the sun illuminated him without their full force, his beautiful face transformed to mirror his true age. His carved jaw, piercing eyes and sensual lips suddenly became twisted, desiccated and grotesque, his long, lapping tongue protruding from the gaps in his cheeks like a maggot.

            He staggered towards Timaeus and grasped his hand with his twisted claws. Tim, who was already looking like one of the fresher displays at the Smithsonian, let his assistant pull him to his feet and hobbled after him into the safety of the open doorway. They collapsed inside, both of them panting from the draining power of the sun.

            Achan glared at him once he’d caught his breath, “You couldn’t have opened the door on your own?”

            “It was locked.” the look that Achan shot him could have curdled milk, “The last thing we need is me ripping it off its hinges.”

            “No, the last thing we need is you dying from stubbornness. We need that just a little less than we need you performing highly public murders on the roof of one of the most frequently visited buildings in New York.” he scowled and looked at the door behind them, “We can’t get rid of those bodies now, the sun is too high…and since we’re a relatively short building, the office workers around up might start to wonder why our roof is bright red…”

            Tim slid his hand across his mouth and winced when it came back bright red, “And I was doing so well…”

            “Two months is a good start,” Achan pointed to a pile of clothes that was neatly folded on the landing, “I figure you don’t want to walk into your staff meeting looking like Lady Godiva.”

            Tim smiled slightly and picked up the bundle, “I never could ride a horse anyway.”

            “Your meeting starts in twenty minutes,” Achan gestured to the gore smeared across Tim’s face, “You may want to clean that off.”


The day only improved when Tim returned from his meeting with the majority shareholders of his Fortune 500 Company and found that his receptionist was dead. It wasn’t so much a shock as a supreme inconvenience, and he shook his head with muted anger as he pushed open the office door and found the absolute last person that he was expecting leaning against his desk.

The woman was incredibly beautiful, so much so that Timaeus immediately identified her as one of his kind. She was tall and slender without losing her curves, her eyes large and so brown hat they almost looked dark red, and her long, jet hair was pulled into thousands of tiny dreadlocks so perfectly maintained that they almost looked like scales. Her grey business suit was immaculately pressed and tailored to show off her figure without showing any skin, and if it weren’t for the necklace of jagged bones around her neck and the metal tribal bands worked into her tresses, she would have looked no different from any of the members of the staff meeting that Timaeus had just left.

She smiled at him winningly and extended a hand, a dark tattoo on her wrist marking her as one of the Ge-Rouge clan of vampires from the New Orleans region, “I invoke sanctuary in the name of the Blood Pact.” her voice was low and melodic, and heavily accented.

            Tim scowled and nodded, more from duty than from desire, “Agreed. I grant sanctuary, but only long enough to talk.” he added the last part sternly. This woman was far out of her territory, deep in the region controlled by his own clan, a group of revenants that had been affectionately dubbed the “White Collars” by the other vampires.  Normally, any revenant that strayed from his or her own territory was killed on sight, but Timaeus was intrigued by this particular vampire’s brazenness.

            The woman nodded her appreciation as Tim shook her hand, “You are Timaeus, second in command of the White Collars, am I correct?”

            “Correct. And you are?”

            “I am called Ixchel, and I am the second in command of the Ge-Rouge.” She retracted her hand and pulled an envelope out of her pocket, “I was sent here to give you this. It is quite urgent.”

            “Urgent enough to send someone as high-up as you?” Timaeus asked as he hesitantly took the envelope.

            “Indeed. Ol’ Papa is inviting you to a meeting,” Ixchel dropped her smile, “You and other vampire leaders have been asked to assemble.”

            Timaeus opened the envelope and pulled out a blank piece of paper. He held it expertly in his right hand and wafted it under his nose a few times, the faint traces of blood spore smeared onto the fibers telling him all he needed to know.

            He let out a long breath and rubbed his temples, “This is about that damned fool and his killing spree, is it not?”

            “It is. The ‘damned fool’ in question is known as Zuriel, and he is a self-proclaimed prophet and the leader of a group called the Choir of Zuriel. He’s been getting more and more careless with his kills, and he needs to be put down.”

            “And Ol’ Papa wants us all to meet up? Sounds like a perfect way to kills us all at once.”

            “Trust me, that thought has occurred to him.”

            “Then why cal this meeting in the first place?”

            “He didn’t.” Ixchel shook her head, “It was a courier who called it…a courier from the old world.”

            “A courier?” Tim’s ears pricked with interest, “That’s impossible. Our kind can’t cross the oceans.”

            “Well, this one did. Apparently, it is urgent.”

She brushed passed him towards the door and Timeaus cleared his throat, “So, why did you feel the need to kill my receptionist?”

Ixchel smiled over her shoulder at him before she sauntered out the door, “She was being very short with me. I did you a favor.”

Timaeus snorted to himself, and shook his head, “Now that’s just plain rude.”

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