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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Flash Fiction: The Darkest Dawn

Chapter 6

I could feel the onset on False Dawn even before I was awake. Part of my heritage I guess, but when you spend as much time as I do trying not to transform, it is certainly a handy talent. Slowly I rubbed my eyes and sat up on the side of the bed.

My apartment wasn't much, I rented a basement unit with only one window, a small rectangle I left heavily draped that dumped out onto the street. I had put bars over the outside as a protective measure, but mostly for the Norms. The drapes were more important by far, depending on the time of day the Sun or the Moon could trigger something I may not be able to control. The rest of the apartment wasn't much.

I had a big living space with a TV and stereo that I rarely touched. A faded old couch sat in front of a table littered with empty food cartons and ashtrays. My bedroom was just as simple, just a bed and dresser, and an overstuffed closet where I kept my clothes. The spare room was the only thing that didn't fit. I grabbed my smokes from the nightstand and headed towards the spare room, pulling an old grey gym shirt on.

I stopped to check out my back in the mirror, grinning after seeing the wounds from last night completely healed. I opened the door to the spare room and stopped to light up a smoke. As I inhaled I took a look around the room. It was filled with all manners of books and lore. Ancient tomes that traced lineage and heritage covered the walls. Spell books, lore, and history, I had one of the best collections in Santa Diego. It paid to be well read when you faced the kind of shit I did on a nightly basis.

The center of the room held an old oak desk, relatively clean compared to the rest of the house. My laptop and the rest of my computer station sat on it, as well as a few earmarked books on Were's that I had been leafing through the night before. I took a few moments to resort the books before firing up my PC and checking my email. I had gotten through about a quarter of he spam that had filled my inbox over the last few days when I heard my phone chirp.

The caller ID had identified it as Father Quinton so I slapped open the receiver.

"Develin here."

"Alex, I need you to come by the church tonight. I have received some information that I think we should discuss."

Quint sounded more high strung than normal, and that got my attention real quick.

"Can't you just fill me in over the phone Padre?"

"This is something you should hear.....and see..... face to face."

"SEE? What the fuck is goin' on Quint? First my Father pays me a visit last night and now you acting all weird. Something is going on and you need to cut the shit."

"Your Father saw you last night? Things may be progressing faster than I have been lead to believe."

Quint seemed to say that last part more to himself than me, but he wouldn't tell me more over the phone no matter how much I pressured him. I finally agreed to come over.

"Don't forget Padre, it's the 14th, I have one visit to make before I head over. I'll be there by 11."

Quint was kind of quiet for a minute. I could tell he wanted to argue with me. Whatever he was sitting on must be important but nothing in Heaven or Hell would make me miss this appointment. Quint finally agreed to meet at 11, but there was still that hint of urgency in his words.

I gave up on my email and started to get ready. I threw my old clothes on the bed and jumped in the shower. I took a few minutes and wiped the dirt and dried blood off of me before drying off. I rubbed my fingers over the 3 day old beard stubble and opted for a shave. It wouldn't do to arrive looking to shabby. I quickly shaved, leaving just my long sideburns as they were. I slicked my hair back and got dressed. I grabbed a new pair of black cargo pants, really heavy duty material. I grabbed a long sleeve black T shirt and grabbed my only button down shirt, also black.

As I headed into the living room I grabbed my holster and work harness, sliding them in place. My harness had all sorts of pouches which I kept various working supplies in, and I felt the familiar heft of the gear fall in all the right places. I picked up my two guns and checked the chambers like I did every night. The guns were made special by Gear for me, over sized revolvers that had break open cylinder chambers. They were modified to hold 8 rounds each, and could handle the special rounds that Gear made for me. I caressed the black pearl grips and slammed them home. Lastly I grabbed my smokes and my trusty leather jacket and headed out the door.

I took a few minutes to rig a couple of simple protection spells over the door. Nothing major, I didn't have that kind of ability in this form but it didn't really matter. I'd have to swing by Vicker's again and arrange to meet a User to re-set my wards. One more thing my old man owed me. I didn't really want to hit Vicker's again so soon after the incident with Kade, but my only other option was to hit The Copper Cup, and the way my luck was going, I probably shouldn't be seen in a Night Walker bar right now.

As I got outside I pulled on my sunglasses. False Dawn (or sunset as the Norms call it) had passed enough that I didn't have to worry about changing uncontrollably, but it was more habit at this point. I still gave a small shudder as I locked my normal form in place though. Daytime had its own set of rules for me,by night I had control. I always felt better after resisting the urge to give into my Night Walker side, when you can't control yourself more often than not, you always appreciate it more when you do.

I walked half a block down to the corner market and headed in. I picked up a carton of smokes and a bottle of scotch. I also picked up a dozen kind of wilted flowers. Orchids always were her favorite. I dropped the money on the counter and grabbed a newspaper on the way out, tucking it into my jacket.

I got lucky and managed to hail a cab after only a few minutes. I gave the cabby directions and leaned back in the seat. I fired up another smoke, much to my drivers chagrin, and waited. I'd be there soon enough.

End of Line.

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