Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Post 5

Catch up! Read post 0

Well, locked might have been too strong a word, Bruce messed with the door for a little while before he realized someone was trying to come through it, it hadn't been locked, but it was closed. Bruce backed away.

A tall, slim, dark haired man in a gray suit walked in, "Oh, sorry. Would you mind holding the door open for me?"

"Uh, no," Bruce said.

"Thanks.", the man in gray proceeded to pull in a cart with lots of blood samples.

"What's that?", Bruce asked.

"Blood."

"No shit, you know what I mean."

"Well, these are samples from each of the Vampires. We take a vial of blood every 6 hours for comparison. We've done it for all of the vampires in this ward."

"Really? Okay, that's handy. Do you have some time to help me out with something?"

"Sure, what can I do for you?"

"Well, take these samples into the kitchen and then arrange the most complete set of samples that you have for the most advanced two cases, I want to see how the disease changes. We should be able to come up with a disease timeline. I'll also need to know how many times these patients have undergone transfusions."

"Oh, that's an easy one."

"Really? Well?", Bruce was getting impatient with this particular mortal.

"Well, none. Only Markus is doing the transfusions. We didn't know if it would help and, well, we don't have that much blood, we want to save the blood for people like yourself and Markus."

"Oh, jeez. Okay. I'm not sure that I agree with that, but alright."

"My name is Charlie, by the way."

"Hi, Bruce," Bruce extended his hand.

"Ah, we don't do that," Charlie pointed at Bruces hand, "Not here."

"I see. Well, let me tell you something. It's not contagious. Not to humans and not through casual contact."

"What do you?"

"Well, if a human could get this disease, they'd die, but I don't think they can. This is vampire only."

"Oh, wow, how do you know?"

"I'll tell you later, I have some more tests to run to confirm it....and your loyalty."

"What does that mean?"

"you'll find out, now go and arrange those samples."

Charlie left to do Bruce's bidding. Bruce returned to the impromptu lab bench.

Bruce examined the gear Charlie had brought him, some lab glass, syringes, a microscope with microscope slideworks, some basic first aid medical gear and a box of rubber gloves. Bruce was happy to see they had a blood typing rig. Bruce slapped on a pair of gloves and got to work.

Bruce drew some of his own blood out and filled a vial with it. Then he took a pipette and took a small sample from one of the more advanced cases, blood type 0, and added it to the vial with Bruce's AB blood type.

"Charlie?"

"Yes?", he called from the freezer.

"Come over here, would you?"

"Sure.", Charlie walked towards Bruce, who was holding a clean syringe in his hand.

"What's your blood type?"

"Wha... B+ , why?"

"Roll your sleeve up, Charlie."

"uh...why?"

"I need some of your blood. I want to check something."

"Uh, okay...just don't put anything in."

"Bruce wrapped a tube around Charlie's arm and tapped at his forearm, looking for a vein. He found one and rammed the needle home, taking a small sample from his arm."

"Thanks. I'm done with you, you can go back to your sorting."

Charlie went back to the freezer. Bruce put the sample into a fresh vial, which he labled , simply, "Charlie", then he added a pipette of the diseased blood into the sample. He then took each of the vials in turn and agitated them, swirling the contents around. There was very little of the diseased sample in the vials, he wanted an orderly amount of distribution.

Taking a clean pipette, Bruce took a sample of both the vampire and human vials and made two slides from them. He gently covered the slide with a thin slice of plastic to flatten the sample and protect the microscopes lens. Then he slid the vampire sample under the glass. He could see the diseased cells and the red cells and had a feel for the proportion as he panned around the slide. He did the same for Charlie's sample.

Now, he needed to let that sample sit for a while, so , tired after such a long day, he went into the room provided, set the alarm on his cell for 7:30, and took a long, deserved, rest.

Bruce woke up to a gentle jangling of his phone, sat up and shook the cobwebs out of his head. He picked his rolling bag off the floor and plopped it onto the bed, unzipped it.

It had been searched, which had annoyed him, but whatever. He took out his kit and a change of clothes and took them into the attached bathroom where he took a nice long shower. After toweling off and shaving, he dressed in what he considered to be a very stylish outfit, but he knew it was a little bit conservative for New York, but that was okay with him.

He exited the bathroom, stopped to put on his shoes, and left the room, walked through the impromptu ward and found Charlie.

"Charlie."

"Yes."

"I'll be stepping out for a bit, make sure noone messes with the samples in the kitchen, they're," Bruce made quote marks with his fingers, "'cooking' and they should be done when I get back.

"No problem."

Charlie walked through the front room, Markus was nowhere to be seen, probably resting, and as he walked to the entry way, he heard Charlie say, "Bruce, you might want this card key. It opens the doors, just wave them on any door of the building and it will let you in. Same with the elevators, just wave the card in front of the sensor and hit both garage 2 and garage 3 at the same time, three times, to get down here."

"Okay, thanks."

Charlie left through the entryway and walked up the two flights of steps to the garage. It was 8:15, and the car was waiting. It was the same car and driver he had arrived with.

"Hi Seth"

"Hello Dr. Napoleon, where are we headed?"

"Upper east side, 73rd and Lexington. Payard Bistro."

"Be there before you know it"

Seth held the door open for Bruce, who slid into the back seat. Seth closed the door and went to his seat and started the car up. "It'll take a bit of time to get there, we have an imf meeting in town."

"That's okay, I'm not in a hurry.", Bruce never was , in fact, he liked being early for things, something that drove the other vampires crazy.

The pulled out of the garage and made their way uptown. The New York streets were a total mess. Lots of people, lots of barricades. Bruce imagines that there would be a lot fo vampires feeding tonight on the blood of the protesters. In a town of strangers, like New York, the undead thrived. Who missed a person who knew no-one. Who persued the end of a person with no job, no family and no friends. Sadly, one persons fresh start could easily turn into a vampire's fresh food.

In that, New York and Las Vegas were the most popular places for the Undead. So many strangers, so many people, many with little to lose. They were also prime siring grounds. Bruce, who disliked siring people, had even done his share in New York and Las Vegas, especially during his irresponsible years. Bruce hadn't shared the responsibility of immortality for 70 years, and he wasn't looking to start, and the temptations of New York made him agitated and filled with a kind of anxiety that he imagined an alcoholics anonymous type would feel in a bar on two-for-one night.

After what seemed like an interminable amount of time, they broke free of the bulk of the protests. Bruce said to Seth, "Don't worry about picking me up, I'll take the subway back, that was bogus."

"Thanks Dr. Napoleon, I appreciate it. These IMF protests look bad, but the city is really a nice place to live."

"Why are you serving the vampires, Seth? You seem like a nice enough guy."

"Well, I want to be immortal....live forever. Who wouldn't?"

"Oh, I guess noone...", same story.. Bruce really didn't expect a different answer, but just once he'd like to hear someone say they really had to finish gibbon's Decline or rewatch the 8 seasons of Stargate on DVD. Bruce had really wanted more time for the life of a student, he loved to learn new things.....immortality for immortality sake was boring stuff.

"What about you, Doc, how long have you been immortal?"

"Since 1926. I was 67 when I was sired. I was about to die of TB when the priest offered me immortality. I thought he was being creative about the whole God thing. Imagine my surprise when he sired both myself and my neighbor in the ward. It seemed like his night out...he fed on half the room, then sired 3 of us. The third died during the process. He was too far gone with the TB to make it through the conversion."

"Was it that tough?"

"No, not really, but we were very sick, so it was harder for us. I really don't get why he was there, sick people taste awful.", Bruce's two sirelings had been young people on the verge of premature death, and they tasted like rust and dirt. Upon achieving immortality, one of them had become that which Bruce had hated, a killer and he had given up siring after that. The other had lived what Bruce would consider an honorable immortality, but she had died in the second world war during the Blitz.

"Maybe he was simply hungry."

"Nah, it doesn't work like that. You can absolutely keep the hunger under control. A little pigs blood is indistinguishable from human. Killing humans is a very easy way of getting yourself killed. Mortals don't take kindly to having their family members offed.

"Well, what about people like me, people who want to be like you."

"I don't know, more vampires equals more tragedy for us all. The less of us there are, the less of us there are to betray the rest of us. I mean, you'll be sired, Markus is good for that, he won't just kill you, if he promised he'll do it."

"I wasn't worried about that. If Markus lives to sire me, that is. He's a lot of bluster."

Boy was this guy screwed up. Markus was dangerous, misguided, fucked up, not blustery. "Well, I don't know about that yet. Where are we at."

"We'll be there soon. You gotta date?", Seth laughed. Bruce did too. He didn't think of it that way at all.

"Me? No. you married?"

"I was."

"What happened?"

"My wife and boy died. Car crash."

"I'm sorry.", Bruce had met this kind of vampire before. Couldn't bear death because it would mean the end of remembering. He understood this kind of pain and sympathized.

"Yeah, me too."

They drove in silence for a bit, then Seth said, "We're here Dr. Napoleon."

"Thanks Seth, don't bother with the door", Bruce opened up the door and stepped out onto the New York street. He hadn't been in New York in 20 years. It was cleaner than he remember it. New York never really leaves you though, and he felt at home. New York was where he lived for 50 years before he was sired. This neighborhood was nice when he left, but it was if anything even more upscale, but upscale bored Bruce in a lot of ways.

Fine fining, however, went quite well with upscale, and Payard was supposed to be a very nice Bistro. It was just before 9pm when he walked through the door, past the confectionary counters and to the hostess stand. He peered around the restaurant, but there was no sign of Genia. The restaurant was about three quarters full.

"Hello sir, do you have a reservation?"

"Oh, well, I might, do you have a reservation for Bruce Napoleon?"

"Let me check," She tapped on her screen, "Yes, right here, with a Ms. Braun?"

"Yes, I don't think she is here yet."

"No, Not yet. Would you like to sit down?"

"No, I'll wait. Thanks.", Bruce turned around and studied the cold cases and candy cases. Chocolates, fruit pates, an a number of beautiful tartes. Eclair, and other beautiful pastry abounded. He was looking forward to dessert. That was when he thought he heard something.


(6:25)

He walked out into the street and listened. He indeed heard a low growl of a cat. Feral? He wasn't sure, but he knew where it was coming from....there was an alley to the left of Payard , it was almost a stock law and order set....dumpster, trash, wet and dirty. Dark as hell, but he was a vampire and he could see pretty well in the dark. He walked into the alleyway, behind the dumpster was ... Genia.

"What are you doing."

He had startled her, in her hands was a cat, blood staining its coat. She looked, of all things, guilty.

"How much have you drank? You can only drink a little bit before you start to hurt the cat. Only a couple of swallows....which is enough, you know."

Bruce held out his hand, "Pass me the cat, okay?"

The cat was limp, but was still awake enough to try to claw at Genia. When the cat went into Bruce's hands, the cat relaxed a bit, exhausted from its ordeal.

"Do me a favor and get a bottle of water and a can of cat food from that bodega across the street okay?"

She nodded and took off. Bruce took out a handkerchief and wrapped it around the cats neck, tight enough to staunch the bleeding but not enough to choke it. It was a Persian, but it was dirty, so he assumed it was one of the many wild cats. He felt the vets urge to neuter it, but that was for another person, another time. He was confident that the cat would live, but Genia had come close to killing it.

Of course, this was okay with most vampires, they saw no problem with killing off a simple cat.

Genia returned with the can of tuna and the water. Bruce opened the water can of food and put it down on the ground. He watched the cat eat the food for a bit then, usignthe top of the can, mounded the cat food onto the top and used the can as a cup for the water. He poured about half the bottle into the cat food tin and said, "Okay, lets go to dinner."

They walked back into the restaurant, and Bruce said, "Get our table, okay, I'm going to go wash my hands, they smell like cat food."

"Sure, and....uh...thanks Bruce."

"Yeah, okay...", Bruce walked down a long hall to the restroom while Genia got the table.

After washing his hands, Bruce looked at himself in the mirror, thinking about how he had been told, when he was mortal, that vampires cast no reflection. The lore surrounding vampires was vast and mostly incorrect, but one thing was true. They needed blood, and the new vampires never knew when to quit, its intoxication got the better of them

Bruce also thought about the blood samples in the kitchen. They should be about ready for him to examine when he got back. He wondered if it would show him proof of what he suspected: That what was killing vampires was specifically aimed at them and other undead, and only them, not their mortal counterparts. The question was, who wanted them dead...was it just an exceptionally organized group of mortals or what? Had a sovriegn state started a group up. The germans had a group set up in the early 1930s to end the undead people before the second world war, but they had been killed off rather decisively by the allies and the undead. It had been an interesting time, Bruce had hidden himself quite well in Montana in those years.

Someone tried the door and , when finding it locked, said, "sorry." Bruce put a damper on his reminiscence, finished drying his hands and walked out, there was a tall man standing waiting for the rest room, Bruce excused himself as he passed by in the narrow hallway and went out into the restaurant to Genia's table.

Genia was looking at the Menu and said to Bruce, "Hi Bruce, sorry about outside. I was just so hungry."

"Why hadn't you fed before that?"

"Well, I'm like you, I don't want to feed on humans, but I don't have your resources."

"Any good deli will have blood for blood sausage. That's ridiculous. When were you sired?"

"Four weeks ago."

"Four weeks?", Bruce was incredulous, so young, "Oh, that makes so much more sense. Why are you trying to kill vampires, Genia?"

(19145 words)
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