Saturday, March 1, 2014

Dark Redemption chapter 36: New Girl on the Features Desk

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.

Plucky girl reporter Cassandra True has fended off werewolves, been entertained by vampires and just the night before encountered the ghost of a mass murderer. Now she is starting a new job at the largest newspaper in the city, the Redemption Morning Star.

"Um, excuse me. I'm Cassandra True. I was told to report to the Features Desk?"

A handsome brown-haired man at the coffee machine paused in filling his cup and turned a pair of startlingly blue eyes toward her. "Ah, Miss True. The new girl. A memo came down about you yesterday. Mr. Johnson's expecting you." He flashed Cassandra a smile.

"Oh! Uh, thank you. I hope I'm not late." She had overslept that morning and nearly missed the bus. While running for the bus, she had dropped a danish pastry leaving a blob of frosting on her sleeve, which she had tried removing in the Ladies' Room and so now she had a big wet stain on her blouse right when she so wanted to make a good impression on her first day at the Morning Star and God, he had dimples!

"I'm Saul Taylor. One of our merry crew here. I guess we'll be working together." The guy offered his hand.

Cassandra stared into his blue eyes for a moment before taking it. "Wonderful! I mean... it's nice to meet you!" she gushed. Any minute now she'd begin blithering. She knew it.

"Mr. Johnson's office is this way." He led through a maze of desks to a corner office. Inside a middle aged man with a pudgy face sat evaluating photographs. The man looked up grumpily.

"This is Miss True," Saul said. "Cassandra, this is Billy Johnson, Features Editor; your new boss."

Cassandra tentatively offered her hand. "Hello, sir."

Johnson snorted. "Mister Knox says you come highly recommended. I hope you can pull your weight."

"I'll do my best, sir!"

Johnson dug through his desk and handed a file to Cassandra. "Well, we might as well put you to work. Here; I want you to do a story on the Redemption Culture Claque. They're putting on their annual Gilbert and Sullivan Festival and Mister Knox likes to have us cover it. He's a big patron of the arts. Taylor, show Miss True to her desk and help her get settled in." He turned his attention back to the photographs.

Saul began ushering Cassandra out of the office, when she paused and added, "Uh, sir; I actually am working on a story right now you might be interested in." Johnson looked up, skeptically. "Uh, maybe. It's about ghosts."


"Well, yes. Ghost sightings. You know." She immediately regretted saying anything; but the only thing she could do now is keep on going.

"Do you believe in ghosts, Miss True?"

"Uh... of course not!" Cassandra fibbed. "But a lot of people are interested in them and there are a lot of ghost stories in Redemption."

Johnson's face suddenly broke into a warm and paternal smile. "That's very true," he said in a condescending tone. "But we like to focus our coverage to things that actually impact our readers' lives." Right, like the Redemption Culture Claque, Cassandra thought sourly. "But don't give up on your story," Johnson continued in a soothing, syrupy voice. "Maybe we can run something like that next Walpurgus Night."

Then as quickly as it had gone, his grumpy demeanor returned. "Taylor, get back to work."

NEXT:  With Regards From the Culture Claque

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