Darkness in New Orleans

Little Willa, Chapter 6 Epilogue
Sunday, 23 March 1997 11:25 PM

Fire engines and other emergency vehicles crowd Evergreen Dr. as a two-story home rapidly burns. Geffrey Read, a fourteen-year veteran of the Gretna Fire Department plunges out of the smoke with a body as onlookers gasp. The burns are horrific. The body is indescribable in its mutilation. "She must have been close to the blast, but she's the only one in there near as I can figure," Geffrey explains as the paramedics rush up.

Within moments, the paramedics end attempts to resuscitate. There is obviously no point. Her head is barely intact from the gas explosion despite countless other injuries. A police officer speaks with neighbors. Elsa Weaver was her name. She lived with her youngest daughter who had recently gone missing. The father had died many years ago in a hospital accident. Another daughter had run away from home five years ago. Such a tragedy.

Geffrey puzzles things out in his head. He's seen some terrible fires, gas explosions even, but never anything like this. It doesn't make sense. Something blew that womans' head off, but he doesn't know what. He sees the M.E. arriving and quickly makes his way over, "Sir, I'm sorry to approach you like this, but something about this isn't right."

The M.E. looks at Geffrey for a moment through his glasses, then asks what the matter is. Geffrey explains the nature of the wounds, where he found the body. He's not a detective obviously, but things don't add up. The firefighter says it looks like a cover up. The M.E. sighs, "you really need to hydrate before we talk more. I can tell you've been sweating a lot. Have a bottle of water."

Geffrey is indeed thirsty and drinks the water. A hazy look falls over his eyes. The M.E. steps closer and speaks softly, "there's nothing you need to concern yourself with here. Nothing about the way you found Mrs. Weaver was out of the ordinary, and this is exactly what you will say if you are ever asked."

Geffrey seems to come back to his senses when the M.E. snaps his fingers, "Are you okay? Perhaps you inhaled too much smoke. You should go see those paramedics, get yourself checked out."

Geffrey nods. Another day, another life lost. It's a tragedy to be sure, but what could he do? She was clearly just standing too close to the oven when the gas exploded.

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That was awesome!!

I really like sex. Well. I'm getting ahead of myself.

The crazy gun totting bitch was helpful. Lee told something about mages that are crazy and refuse to follow the laws of reality. Dozen or so bikers come driving through the area. I wasn't paying that close attention but it didn't look like any of them had the same motorcycle, all different, all weird. They had axes and all other manner of weapons too. Then she was helpful for a moment, she took there and tried to escape but one of the bikers teleported in her way. From there, I couldn't tell exactly what happened but she was on her back. We took off to the chantry.

That's when I met Nora. I ask for directions and I get kissed. Out of nowhere. Random horny chick. Now, I have no idea how I held my cool long enough to get help. I found Jewel's second in command and sent her downstairs. Then I let go. I went over to kiss Nora and next thing I know. My world was rocked. Is it even okay to talk about this? I know a lot of guys would brag, but if I talk about too much about it, I wonder if I won't get another chance. Although I remember why I don't like most drugs, whatever pill she gave me had me touching everything… in my underwear. Apparently I left them on the roof.

Some of the details are a little fuzzy, but I remember a very cold shower. Something about my palm being cut with a bone. Then things became clearer. I saw Bunny after all that and it felt so weird. Ya know when you think someone is digging you and they ask you if you just got laid. I couldn't tell if she was jealous, amused or ya know, proud. I hugged her but I don't know if she wanted it or if I needed it. I always feel weird around her. she did let me know about Reverend Williams.

Another bag of weird in a two days. The All Saints Church had the creepiest feeling I've had in a while. That includes the conversation with Bunny. I couldn't put my finger on the feeling but it was creepy. Not many people wake up with bugs crawling them but I have. It felt like that. For now, we are going to the reverend after services. Jim was able to pay for breakfast but now I have to worry about where to sleep since the men in black are looking for us again.  Now I have to figure out where to sleep at night again.

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There Shall Be War, Chapter 1 Prologue
Monday, 24 March 1997, 5:28 PM, just before dusk

"What's that, Charlie?" Bobby Joe asks as an enormous metal crate is lifted off the boat by a crane.

Charlie looks it up and down, noting strange markings in red on the side. He double checks the listings on his clipboard as the crane sets the crate down on the shore side. "Not quite sure. It's not even listed on the manifest. That thing could be holding a tank for all I know."

The two men standing on the dock are so keen on the enormous box that they barely notice the approach of a rugged young man of Puerto Rican descent with a brutal scar across his chin. He is dressed in a fine black suit, shining black shoes, and a red tie. The cuff links of his suit are fashioned into gold crucifixes.

"Whoa, hey," Bobby Joe says as the man approaches, "I'm not sure who you are fancypants, but you're not supposed to be on this dock."

The rugged man in the suit chuckles and looks down at the water for a moment, then quickly locks eyes with Bobby Joe, "I think you should go find yourself a lonely stretch of the Mississippi and JUMP into the river."

The command is emphatic and bizarrely persuasive. As soon as Bobby Joe hears it, he moves away and starts rushing along the river, looking at the water.

"Whatinthedamnhell," Charlie says dumbfounded as he watches Bobby Joe wander off.

Charlie fails to notice the man sliding up behind him. With great speed and strength, the man puts Charlie in a sleeper hold and cups his mouth to keep him from screaming. Charlie struggles in futility, eventually succumbing to the stranger's grasp and collapsing on the pier. "Come along now," the man says, gently hoisting the unconscious Charlie onto his shoulders and carrying him to shore, "the trip from New York has been a long one. Nightfall is nearly upon us, and my Domitor will be hungry. "

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Late Surveillance
A Prequel Short

Tyler woke up at late at night. He shifted as he reached for the radio, now playing some late night advertisement when it normally plays the likes of Nirvana. He shifted the channel to one not known by most, almost as if driven to change the channel. A late night news show, almost nonsensical stories, but they seem to make sense to him. He continued to lie back and listen to the radio show. The rough but light hearted voice seemed to delight in the story hiding the real news, as if recalling old times.

What he just heard about may have taken place nearby, but there was nothing he could do. That didn’t mean he couldn’t prepare for it and keep the place safe. Right now, he felt he had time for now. He had a more important thing to check out, or more important to him anyway. He crawled out of bed, not bothering to get dressed. He walked down the hallway towards his parents’ room.

Every night he had done this with dread, peeking into his parents’ room to see if they were still there. The worst fear he had was looking in and finding the bed empty. To his relief, he found both of his parents sleeping soundly. Breathing a sigh of relief, but not relaxing, he walked back toward his room. He knew his parents were safe for now, but he had to make absolutely certain they were.

As he got back to the room, he opened up his laptop waiting for the operating system to boot up. The moment he was able to, he opened the word processor and started typing, describing the surroundings around him and the neighborhood as he was aware of them. In doing so, his vision started to reach out, beyond the building he was in and throughout the neighborhood. He reached out as if to find every little detail around him to find out if it was a threat, every car that passed through, every person walking the late night hours.

This went on for several hours. If it weren’t for how important this was, he would have fallen asleep from boredom. Then, he found the threat, a troubled mage that had been causing problems looking for its next victim. He suddenly looked up, as if looking straight at Tyler. “I don’t think so,” Tyler thought. Immediately looking for any mages in the area he could warn. 

Thankfully, he found a Euthanos nearby where the young mage was. Such a mage could always use the glory of taking down a criminal. Tyler wasn’t interested in that stuff, only to make sure this kid got nowhere near him or his family. He quickly typed a mental suggestion for the mage to wake up and begin his ‘training’ early. 

It was starting to reach the morning hours anyway. He continued to watch the Euthanos get up and take the early morning session. The young mage that had ‘seen’ Tyler was now distracted by something new, trying to figure out if the Euthanos was a target or a threat. He watched as the young mage try to assault the Euthanos, only to be repelled easy by the warrior mage, now recognizing it as the threat from the reports. He was more than happy to subdue the rogue mage.

Satisfied that the threat was gone, Tyler ended the ritualized spell. He knew the Euthanos would gladly take credit for stopping the criminal, but didn’t care. He got what he wanted and that was his family’s safety. He closed the laptop, shutting it down. Despite letting out a yawn, he was still too restless to go back to sleep, so he sat up on the side of the bed, rolling through his thoughts.

“Tyler?” his mother asked. Tyler looked up at the woman, already looking like she was ready for work. “What’s wrong?”

“Just woke up early. Usual nightmares, he half lied. It may have been nightmares that woke him up, but he had been up longer than he let on. He stood up  and walked up to the doorway, embracing the woman hat took him in not too long ago. “Thank you,” he told her. After awhile, the woman swore she heard her son snoring as he fell asleep on her shoulder. She slowly let the young man fall asleep, needing it after last night. She just wasn’t aware what all last night entailed.
 

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Well, That Went Well...then to Hell
Hope the Others Are Okay

Catches Flies seemed okay, but something didn't set right with me about the whole set up. Part of me wonders if we played right into someone's plans. Thankfully, the mental ward I set up for everyone still worked, but I never set it for the new guy. I wonder why he wasn't left in a catatonic mess. Our attempt to get Catches Flies out worked too well. We even found a new mage in our attempt to break him out, some brawler named Jim. He seems okay, but wants to get back to his old life badly. I would know more than I should that sometimes, there's no going back.

Then, shit went to Hell. Where we were supposed to meet up with Catches Flies to get Layla was slammed pack. We rushed over and someone nearly killed us with a car. Jim, the new guy, tried to get away, and everyone else seemed to get a handle on everything else going on. I needed to at least keep an eye on him, just to make sure he's safe. I don't trust anyone involved with him. He got captured and put in a research facility by someone, and someone close is most likely to do it. Let him cope with everything, but the moment trouble hits him, I'm in. I just don't want to lose anyone if I can help it, not again.

Crazy, I know. Like I can help a guy that one punches tougher guys than I am, but I've taken a few hits before…including from a car for cryin' out loud. I should be able to manage. I just hope everyone else is okay. I shouldn't have left like that, but things were happening too fast for me to stick around and bark out warnings. I had to act…on my own. I was the only one that spotted him for a reason. I have to do this.

 I'm getting a better hold of things. I know my limits at least, but I've ben starting to realize I'm not as limited as I thought. The rest are far better at this than I am. They'll be fine. Then again, what the Hell do I know? I'm just a kid. I've been probably holding them back the whole time and not realizing it. I'll probably mess this up somehow, too.

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Not another one...

The attack on Magadon or whatever went well enough. Catches Flies and some local wrestler were rescued from the Tech Heads. Adelaide thought it was too easy cause Thornton the asshole ran away and just kind of gave up the werewolf. I wasn't thinking about it cause the two psycho chicks start gunning people down. Its not like I haven't seen people shot or anything but at least… well the.. bad guys.

That's not the problem. Adelaide.

So Catches Flies hid Layla away and he was going to bring Layla back into town an hour later. Whatever happened before hand, Layla was apparently alone and traffic was a hellstorm. It was so bad when she got off the tram, a car swerved and damn near ran us over. I got clipped pretty. I don't know why but Layla looked terrified. I think its cause of all the destruction, I couldn't tell. But she bolted. I took off after her.  I could have caught up to her without the need to knock her out.

I caught up to her as she passed out. And like a cycle of my past. I'm holding a passed out kid in an alley. God. Gods. Whatever. She seems like she'll wake up. I can't see another kid die in an alley because either their family didn't care… or just left them there. Layla has a family wanting her to come home. I saw a look in Adelaide's eyes for a moment. I've seen in many times in the cops looking to kill a homeless guy, that give me a reason look. It passed thankfully.

Are those motorcycles I hear?

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Who is Mr. Crane? Chapter 5 Epilogue
Monday, 24 March 1997

"Good morning Ms. Cleary," a young man sitting at a long, circular, silver-topped desk says as Nell walks in.

"Morning, Garrett. Enjoy the fight last night?" she asks her secretary; he was shit-for-brains but he was handsome and never missed an appointment so she kept him around.

"Oh, you know I did. But Lewis beat Briggs by technical knock-out. Damn Brits have the championship now," the young man laments.

Nell shakes her head, "such a monstrous sport, boxing. No calls until 8:30. Understood?"

"Of course, ma'am," he smiles and nods while Nell imagines him shirtless on a beach in Tahiti; that would make for a nice vacation.

Entering into her office, Nell walks by a framed portrait of Napoleon leading his soldiers at Waterloo; the portrait always reminded her never to overestimate her abilities. She takes the jacket off her pant suit as she sits at her desk. A Sunburst Software screen saver logo dances across the screen of her computer as she picks up the phone and dials.

"Good morning, Dr. Thornton… I'm doing quite well, thank you… How is the situation with RD-109 'Willa' going… God, Obadiah, the Syndicate is aware of the deterioration. Another $10 million has already been made available… Well, anyway, I just thought I would inform you that EDE-71 'Crane' has been secured and the city should be sanitized by now… Yes, I know. We were quite lucky this time, didn't even need the Boys in Black… Well that's the interesting thing. I was contacted by the Night-Folk who practically handed him over… No, they didn't ask for a thing… Yes, peculiar indeed. We haven't used that number since 1971 during the Scarab Incident… I certainly hope it's nothing like that… Alright, well have a fine morning then. I've just been emailed a report on an oil discovery in the Gulf, so I'm going to have to go. Say hello to your nephew for me… Goodbye."

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Who is Mr. Crane? Chapter 5 Prologue
Sunday, 23 March 1997

"Yea! Take him down! Take that bitch down!" Christopher yells at the television as Lennox Lewis pounds Shannon Briggs aggressively with power punches.

"Briggs is down for the third time!" the announcer cries, and the referee begins his count.

"I told you! I told you! Makin' some money tonight!" Christopher says triumphantly as he jumps up on the sofa and counts down with the referee.

"The referee is stopping the fight," says the announcer, "it is a technical knock-out and that is a win for Lennox Lewis, Heavyweight Champion!"

Christopher slams his fist into the ceiling with a cheer and some plaster falls to the floor as a result of the ceiling's new hole. Then he hops off the couch and motions for Zachary and Samuel to follow him.

"It's time to leave for Court. The Prince wants every Kindred there. Don't worry. Word has already been getting out around town. Everyone should be at the Cabildo by 9:30. You Sabbat motherfuckers cause shit. Laura dies. The Prince is gonna turn this son of a bitch around. Sergio Mantilla don't own this town."

Outside the guest cottage to Rubis d'le Nuit, a Lincoln Towncar pulls up. Christopher gets in the front seat to ride alongside the driver while Zachary and Samuel follow in the back. "Definitely time," Christopher says, beginning to drum his fingers to the music on the dashboard as the car pulls away, "time to do things right."

 

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I GOT SHOT!!!
Street Rat (Justin)

If you're wondering, getting shot fucking sucks. For whatever reason these cabbie when offered a hundred dollars to make sure he didn't remember us freaks out and pulls a gun. Ya know, a lot of things since I've become aware has been like a movie. Trusty baton that has gotten me out of a lot of fights, well hitting his hand to drop the gun didn't work. What next, I bolted. I felt it before I heard.

It was a weird series of pain. First like ripping my leg open then hot FUCKING metal cooling in my blood. I'm still angry. Oh yea, you're a great deal pain but don't use your magic to solve the problem. Leave the damn bullet in your leg. I was in an alley, where the hell was I going to find forceps. Maybe I should magiked those into existence. Don't get me wrong, Lee is right. I should have let someone else do it, but I didn't know what to do and I could kind of feel the bullet burning. After being shot, I felt lectured. Lee and several adults started talking at me. Well…. if felt that way. I saw it happen from time to time when the police would come through the alleys, they weren't trying to have a conversation but spoke down to the bums.

We still did my plan but someone drove us there and then I DIDN'T GET SHOT. I just walked into a triangle place and walked out with a computer. Its come into play a few times where no one notices me. This was one of those situations. They kind of noticed me but if I coughed they thought it was just a sick employee. I just kept quiet. When it was over, we walked to the truck and drove off. No bullets, no knives.

The soldier woman says we have to break into a building to rescue a werewolf. Apparently werewolves make not werewolves go crazy. So another problem. Do I even have enough time to understand what is happening? I guess I'll find out in a few hours.

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Little Willa, Chapter 4 Prologue

Deep in the Bayou, in the town of Labadieville, Sonny and Mitchell sharpen blades, clean guns, and make prayers to spirits in preparation for battle. The brothers are relishing the chance to fight with Magadon and rescue their shaman.

Sommer squeezes off shots at a gun range in Belle Chasse. She spots a gator down range. Not today. There will be time for that later. But today, Adelaide might need her help, so she needs to be ready.

On PHR34K W34Z3L's unattended laptop screen, an IRC window pops open:
K@11!k: hey there
K@11!k: …
K@11!k: I guess u aren't around
K@11!k: so missed connection I guess
K@11!k: I still have the fork and knife if you've got that cake
K@11!k: can u come by at 1:37 pm today?
K@11!k: crap. gtg. will msg u l8r

Meanwhile on Tyler's computer screen, a similar message pops up:
K@11!k: u never showed up…
K@11!k: it's kewl
K@11!k: i heard u were busy with stuff
K@11!k: if u get the chance i need 2 c u
K@11!k: i'll be at the same place at 1:37 pm
K@11!k: o ya i invited W34Z4L 2
K@11!k: dammit gtg. c u l8r i hope

Horatio Wilder kneels dutifully before the altar, "let the child be safe, my Lord. Bring this lost sheep back to the herd so that the shepherd may watch over. Give Your servant the power and strength she needs. By Your divine will, and in the name of your Son…"

"No you can't cut along the diagonal," Andrea scolds in the garden, "we're not making a flower arrangement for a vase, we're taking cuttings to replant. Attention to detail is important. It's okay, let me see that. There we go, everything is back to normal. Try again, cutting shortways. See how the Sphere of Life can rejoin links between living things anywhere in the Tapestry? It can even be used to bind together two Life Patterns that have never been the same. So you could fuse two bodies together. It's vulgar as hell, but imagine a Man in Black trying to chase you when he's got four sets of legs, two of which are on backwards, not to mention a backwards torso stuck to him."

Meanwhile, sterile ladders descend into a fathomless pit between rooms that hang to walls. People in white lab coats walk between them, murmuring softly. A distinguished old man speaks with a young woman, "containment is already prepared. But the specimen will need to be subdued. It would be best if its voluntary."
"I understand. Don't worry. I'll be ready," the young woman replies.

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