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.
Cassandra True has discovered that her roommate Cecily has become involved with a vampire. Her attempt to discuss the situation with Cecily has gone badly and ended up as a quarrel. Now Cassandra ponders what to do next.
Cassandra intended to speak with Cecily again in the morning, but woke to the sound of Cecily breezing out the door. “I’m off to work, Sandy!” her voice was unnecessarily loud. “That’s what responsible people do! Ta!” Cecily slammed the door on her way out.
Rubbing her temples, Cassandra sat up and squinted at her alarm clock. Damn! How could Cecily be so bright and chipper at this time of the morning? She must have gotten even less sleep than Cassandra did. She dragged herself out of bed and made another cup of coffee.
The more she thought about the peculiar way Cecily reacted to her mention of addiction the night before, the less she liked it. Cecily tended to talk casually about drugs in conversation, but in practice she stuck mostly to alcohol. For her to react so defensively suggested to Cassandra that Cecily had something to hide. “Methinks she doth protest too much,” Cassandra muttered grimly to herself.
The obvious thing to do would be to search her room. Cassandra felt a twinge of guilt over snooping on her roommate, but she told herself this was for Cecily’s own good.
Entering the room, Cassandra was shocked to find it as neat as a pin. Cecily had obviously anticipated her and cleaned it, no doubt to destroy anything incriminating. Had Cecily slept at all last night? Doggedly, Cassandra dug through Cecily’s dresser and looked under her mattress looking for anything to confirm or disprove her suspicions, but found nothing. Even the wastebaskets were empty. Cecilie never took out the garbage. Cassandra briefly considered digging through the dumpster in back of their building, but a look at the clock warned her that she didn’t have the time.
“Are you all right?” Saul asked when she came into the newspaper office. “You look beat.”
“I’m okay.” Cassandra dumped the armload of material about the Redemption Culture Claque on her desk and headed straight for the coffee machine. “Didn’t get much sleep last night.”
“That Strephon friend of yours isn’t causing you problems, is he?”
A bit of guilt nibbled at the back of her conscience. Saul had helped her try to research Strephon, and so she really ought to tell him what she’d found out about Strephon. What she suspected, she corrected herself; she didn’t really know anything. And even if she was right about Strephon being part fairy, surely it wasn’t her place to go spreading his secret around. Well, she had told Cecilie, but that was different. But did she really owe Strephon any confidence, seeing as he’d been lying to her all this time? Cassandra shook her head. Strephon’s Victorian manners were beginning to rub off on her. No, she needed to talk things over with Strephon first before she told anybody else anything. Not that Saul would believe her.
“Hm? Oh, no. Nothing like that. It’s my roommate, Cecilie. I’ve been worried about her.” Could Saul help her with Cecilie? No, he probably didn’t believe in vampires. And as for the drugs, he’d probably just tell her to go to the police. She’d already decided that the police would be no help in this situation.
Cassandra turned in her Culture Claque story and tried to concentrate on her next assignment, but her mind kept drifting to the problem of Cecilie. What about Strephon? Could he help her? He probably did believe in vampires. At least he’d take her seriously. But Strephon didn’t seem like someone who would know squat about illicit drugs, unless it were something like opium or laudanum.
Who else could she turn to? Maybe Grandma Simms. Mrs. Simms had helped Cassandra when she and Strephon had been attacked by wolves, and Cassandra had the impression that she knew a lot about magic. Cassandra made a note to visit the Friendlee-Mart on Fitch Street after work.
What else? Cassandra looked at her notebook, at the scrawl of names, thoughts and queries that she had jotted down as she grappled with her problem. There was one name she hadn’t written, that she had been avoiding.
If anyone knew anything about vampires at the Club Cyba-Netsu, it would be Ms. Kurayami. And if Cassandra wanted to settle things one way or the other, she would have to go back to the Cyba-Netsu and talk to Kurayami herself.