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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

5th State of Affairs

            The CDC had carefully set up a base of operations just outside of Liberty Cross consisting of four large tents that were specially designed to be antimicrobial. The operatives on call were all armed to the teeth with tools to kill germs: they all wore sealed suits, carried heavy duty sanitizer and scrubbed down at every opportunity in order to combat disease on almost every level. What they hadn’t counted on combating, however, was Mordecai.

            By the time that Bernie and Steven had landed, rented a car and started their two hour drive to town, the CDC’s base of operations had been reduced to a burning pile of ashes with human remains littered around it, some of which still wrapped in sterile rubber gloves.

            Mordecai sat on one of the discarded folding chairs that he’d just finished using to bludgeon an EIS officer to death with, his mouth stained crimson from the blood that he had harvested from the bulk of the group. His stomach was full, and he was feeling lazy and satiated as he looked out over the city that the Choir had claimed as their own.

            A pair of headlights cut across the darkness and Mordecai glanced over his shoulder slowly as a car parked behind him and a surprised human shout echoed against the ruined tents.  

            Steven struggled to keep his knees from buckling as he stared at the remains of the base of operations in horror, his brain refusing to process what the thick, red liquid was that ran in rivers on the dusty ground. It took him a moment to realize that the gaunt, naked man seated neatly in front of the largest of the tents was in fact still alive, despite what looked like a massive facial wound.

            Bernie’s eyes narrowed behind his glasses as he also surveyed the scene, but there was no question in his mind as to who, or more appropriately what, the man seated in the chair was. He put out a hand as Steven started towards the man and caught him by the shoulder roughly, “No. Don’t go near him.”

            The toxicologist blinked at him in shock, “There’s a survivor who needs our help. Maybe he can tell us what happened?”

            Bernie shook his head, “He knows what happened but you are not going to speak to him. Get back in the car slowly.”

            “I can’t just-“

            Bernie turned on Steven so rapidly that his glasses slipped down on his face, revealing eyes that no living human could have seen through. They were red, but not red like someone who hadn’t slept well or who was high: they were the red of having had every capillary and blood vessel in them explode simultaneously, making them so crimson that they seemed black. Steven recoiled in horror, and Bernie hissed, “Get back in the car.”

            Steven hurried to obey and Bernie pulled his glasses off his face and put them in the pocket of his overcoat before he sauntered over to Mordecai and cleared his throat, “For your sake, I hope you have a license.”

            Mordecai laughed and his mouth lolled open so far that he looked like a snake about to swallow its prey whole, “Well, hello. I don’t recall inviting you to this party.”

            “You and your ilk invited everyone when you decided to get so damn reckless.” Bernie sneered, “I’m all for having a bender, but at least I clean up after myself.”

            The vampire with the harlequin smile laughed cruelly, “That’s because you have to. Imagine if you didn’t,” he stood up, his movements oily and slick, “Imagine being free, like us.”

            “You aren’t free, you are nuts.” Bernie snorted, “Your leader is risking not only getting you killed by the humans but by your own brethren.”

            “No,” Mordecai spat, all vestiges of humor gone from his face, “Not my brethren. I am amongst equals only within the Choir. The rest of you…leeches are superior to humans only by the slightest margin and soon you will all be painfully aware of that.”

            Bernie pulled off his hat, and the burn marks that had been imprinted on his skull when he died looked almost like tiger stripes in the half-light, “Maybe, but I wouldn’t make that call before the game’s been played.” he set the hat on the ground and his fingers curled around the familiar coils of metal in his pockets, his skin tingling with the anticipation of using his piano wires once again.

            Mordecai’s eyes flicked down to Bernie’s hands and he laughed again, “Wow, you really are serious, aren’t you? You think that you actually have a chance?” the smile turned into something far more horrible as it stretched from ear to ear in a horrible, mocking leer, “You don’t. Not even a small one.”

            Bernie responded by moving faster than any human’s eyes could track. He pulled the wires from his pockets and they unfolded against his sides like extensions of his own fingers, weighted down as they were by the smallest of blades at each tip. In almost the same motion, he swung his arm and let the wires whip forward. The blades at their tips caught Mordecai across the cheek and he stumbled backwards in surprise just as the second set slammed into the side of his neck and coiled around his throat.

            Steven watched from the car in complete shock as the wires tightened and began to cut through the skin in a horrible pinching motion.

            Mordecai threw back his head and laughed, making Bernie freeze slightly in surprise. The smiling vampire slide his fingers across the knife sharp wires and then curled around them while he took a step forward to that the tension around his neck went completely slack. Blood welled around his fingers, but Mordecai ignored it, his eyes fixed on Bernie’s face hungrily.

            Bernie flicked his free hand and the wires went questing for Mordecai’s face once more, but he expertly dodged them and in a flash was at Bernie’s throat, the knife-like nails of his other hand parting the flesh of his belly as if it were butter. The burned vampire doubled over, frantically trying to pull the hand free from his guts, but to no avail.

            Mordecai laughed again, “Well, what do you plan to do now?”

            Bernie spat into his assailants face and pulled the wire that still hung around Mordecai’s throat tight. The skin parted this time and blood began to flow down his chest, but before he could properly decapitate him, Mordecai twisted his hand and tore the hole in his stomach open wider. Bernie’s insides quite suddenly fell into the grass at his feet, and despite the fact that this was not a fatal wound for a vampire, it certainly hurt like hell.

            Bernie’s knees gave out from under him, and Mordecai whispered as he sank to the ground with his victim, “Zuriel has plans for you, errand-boy. How blessed are you to serve the new messiah? How lucky for you that you are useful.” he turned his eyes up to where Steven had seized a gun from the car’s glove compartment and was striding towards them with shaking hands, “Sadly, the same is not true for your human pet.”

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