Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dark Redemption chapter 56: Judgment

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.

The life of Cassandra True, a reporter recently hired by the Morning Star, has lately been engulfed in the supernatural, ranging from werewolves to a ghost to a deranged witch and her faerie minions.  Perhaps the most mysterious is her new acquaintance, Strephon, whom she has just discovered has even deeper secrets than she imagined.  But now she has discovered that her roommate, Cecily, has become involved with vampires.

Cecily did not roll into the flat, giddy and exhausted, until the far side of 3:00 am.  She did not expect to see Cassandra sitting on the couch waiting for her.

“You shouldn’t have waited up,” Cecily said.

“I know.”  Cassandra’s reply was dangerously quiet.  Cecily realized that they were about to have that conversation which begins “Cecily, we have to talk.”  She had been dreading that conversation for days, and especially did not want to have it now; not when she was so tired and after the night had otherwise gone so well.

“I suppose you went to the Cyba-Netsu,” Cassandra continued.  “Did you have fun?”

“Yah.”  Cecily could guess by the careful way Cassandra phrased the question that it was a trap.  What the hell.  Get it over with.

Cassandra just gave her a hard, long look, like she was trying to nerve herself to say something.  Then she said it.  “I was wondering.  I know when you donate blood at the Red Cross, they give you donuts afterwards.  What do you get at the Cyba-Netsu?”

Cecily’s hand darted to the scarf around her neck.  The accusation veiled in the sarcastic remark felt like a slap in the face.  Sandy didn’t usually do sarcasm, at least not very well.  Cassandra’s face reddened, but she kept her relentless gaze on Cecily, daring her to deny it.

“It’s not what you think.”

“Then show me your neck.”

Damn!  Why did Sandy always have to make things difficult?  She didn’t want to have to deal with this!  She just wanted to crawl into bed.  Cecily felt herself growing angry.  She pulled off the scarf defiantly and let it flutter to the floor.  “There!  Are you happy?”

Cassandra bit her lip and stared at the puncture marks on Cecily’s neck.  Any moment now, it would come:  the disapproval; the anger; the judgment; the disappointment.  Well let it come.

“I’ve been worried about you.”  Cassandra’s voice was low, but it was still a reproach.  “I wish you had told me.”

“You wouldn’t understand.”

The two glared at each other for a moment.  At least Cecily glared; she couldn’t tell exactly what Cassandra was thinking.

Finally Cassandra looked away.  “That’s too bad, because I have a problem.”  God, here it comes, she’s going to bring up the rent again, Cecily thought.  “You see, I just found out why Strephon’s been lying to me, and I’m not sure what to do about it.  I’d like to ask a friend I can trust for advice, but I’m not sure if I can trust her if she won’t trust me.”

Cecily wasn’t expecting that.  All the anger, all the defensiveness, all the self-righteous mind-your-own-business-ness she had been building up just oozed out of her.  She was tired.  She just couldn’t maintain it. 

She sat down on the couch next to her.  Cassandra’s eyes were moist with tears, but she was trying not to show it.  Cecily put her arm around her.

“Sandy, we have to talk.”

NEXT: Heart to Heart 

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