Saturday, December 21, 2013

Dark Redemption chapter 26: Iced Cappuccinette

Beneath the gleaming skyscrapers and picturesque facade of the City of Redemption lies another city; a community of dark and ancient magic populated by creatures of the night. Dark Redemption is a shared-world novel based on an online role-playing game by James Crowther.

Strephon MacKenzie, a semi-immortal half-fae, has been invited out to dinner by his friend Cassandra True, a reporter for the Daily Oracle. They have gone to the Club Cyba-Netsu, a trendy Internet cafe which Cassandra does not realize is owned by a powerful vampire.

The iced cappuccinette tasted as vile as Strephon thought it would, but he put on a brave face. He had other things to worry about. How many other people at this club were vampires? Would Miss Kurayami be watching him? What sort of arrangement did Melchior have with her?

And What was he going to do with Cassandra?

"I forgot to ask, where were you this afternoon?"

"Oh," Strephon said. "Just running a few errands. Visiting a friend at hospital. Bunbury. Poor old Bunbury." It was the first thing that came to the tip of his tongue and instantly he regretted it.

Cassandra did not seem to notice his crib. "Really? What's wrong with him?"

"Consumption. Terrible thing."

"Poor man." She made appropriately sympathetic sounds. "Curious, though, that you should visit the hospital. I had a dream last night about a hospital."

Strephon experienced a queasy sensation that had nothing to do with the iced cappuccinette. "Not an unpleasant dream, I hope."

Cassandra giggled. "No... not exactly... It was, well... you were in it."

"Ah. Say no more. I suppose I should be flattered." Had he invaded her dreams again last night? Or did she enter his? That they had shared the same dream somehow, Strephon did not doubt. She was trying very hard to avoid looking at his legs.

She was so flustered, in fact, that she tipped over her drink, spilling iced cappuccinette into her lap. She leaped to her feet. "Omigosh! I'm such a klutz!"

"No harm done. Are you all right?"

"Look at me! I'm a mess! Will you excuse me while I run to the ladies' room to clean up?"

Actually, Strephon did not want to leave her alone in this place at all, but he could hardly demand to accompany her into the ladies' room. He smiled weakly. "By all means. Go right ahead."

As he watched her leave the table, he heard a musical chime come from his computer terminal. He turned to it and saw a new window on the screen:
Message from Kurayami -- Accept?
* * * * *
Cassandra blotted the stain on her dress and examined it critically. Great. She'd have to deal with that when she got home. She sighed and dried off her hands.

She opened the door to the ladies' room and saw the green-haired waiter chatting with one of the customers, a goth girl in a black tube top with magenta hair, pierced eyebrows and a long silk scarf around her neck. Cassandra ducked back into the loo. She instinctively guessed that they were having a private moment and wouldn't want to be interrupted. Of course, that didn't stop her from peeking.

"Aren't you hungry, Ricky?" the girl asked putting her arms around the waiter's shoulders.

"Not now, Mori. The Boss doesn't like it during business hours."

"She'll never know. Just a little nip. I really want it... Please...?" The girl loosened her scarf and let it flutter to her feet.

The waiter hesitated; then with a sudden lunge grasped her torso and planted a kiss on the girls neck.

Cassandra gave an involuntary gasp. She guessed that they were going to make out, but the suddenness of his action surprised her. The waiter looked up sharply and saw her. Then he thrust the girl aside and brought a towel to his face. The girl flopped back against the wall, with a blissful expression on her face.

From the girl's neck, Cassandra could see twin trickles of blood.

NEXT:  Interview With a Vampiress

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