Blogophilia 26.11 – Roger
It’s time again for blogophilia, the fun blog group where martien gives participants prompts to use in their weekly blog. This week’s prompts are:
Ecrits Blogophilia Week 26.11 Topic – “Make a Wish – Count to Three”
*Hard Bonus (2 pts.): Incorporate a naughty word – bastards
*Easy Bonus (1 pt): Mention a mountain closest to where you live – Mount Moses in Carroll County , IA (so the internet claims)
Roger is not an Executioner – he’s a guard who can never get promoted for various reasons. You can find him in Masque of the Vampire where he gets sent to help out with security at Andre’s party. Before that, though, this happens.
Roger tugged his uniform coat straight and glared at the mirror. How many years had he worn this for? Too damn many, that was for sure.
Well, not this exact uniform. They updated it every few years, presumably to match someone’s idea of the new styles. Frankly, he wished they’d have stopped about two iterations ago.
The new uniform – still black and silver – had a calf length coat that fastened to the side, military style. Black slacks and knee high boots looked sharp, and the silver piping looked nice, especially up the leg. But the material choice…they’d forgone the old cotton and gone for some modern mash up that you couldn’t iron.
“It doesn’t need ironed,” he’d been told when he complained, but they didn’t understand. Ironing those uniforms had been a big part of his week. For years. And years. Every Saturday had been ironing day and now…
Now there’s nothing to do on Saturday.
Sure, he could go socialize, but who the hell wanted to do that? He spent the whole week dealing with other vampires. The last thing he needed was more time with the teeming masses.
If only I’d get promoted. Executioners don’t have to wear spandex-rayon-whatever uniforms.
Actually, they didn’t wear any uniforms. It was traditional for them to dress in all black – and most wore long coats, left over from the days of riding cloaks – but past the required medallion, they could do as they pleased. If he got lucky enough to become an Executioner, the first place he’d go was the tailor to have a set of snappy black uniforms made. The kind that would hold a good sharp crease.
Though then I’d be too busy to iron them.
The Executioners were always gone. If they were home for more than a day it was something to note, and longer than that merited suspicion. Had they done something? Were they in trouble? Were they up to something with Malick?
Looking back, Roger could see the pattern now; all the times that Senya, Griselda, and Greneth had been gone too long, or home too long, no doubt thanks to Malick’s machina…machine…
Roger huffed and snatched the calendar page from the desk. Word of the day: machination – a plot or scheme. Right. It fit perfectly with Malick. That vampire was always up to something.
I knew it all along, Roger told himself. There was always something suspicious about that old coot.
But now he was gone – gone, gone, gone – and, as the new head of the high council, Eileifr had taken charge of the Executioners. It made no difference to the guards, though, who fell under the lesser council’s jurisdiction.
We’ll be under Ian until hell freezes over.
The alarm on Roger’s watch went off. He pushed the button, ending the beeps, then checked his room over one more time. As a lowly guard, a motel style room was all he was issued. A bed, a desk, a wardrobe. Everything else he had to buy himself, including the television. He’d done a good job decorating the bland space, if he did say so himself. Matching bookshelves, some well-placed artwork, a pair of armchairs in case he got guests – which he did despite his effort to discourage them. It was almost like his prickly attitude was a challenge to some of the guards, rather than a deterrent.
That or they like bitter old ass holes.
And he sure as hell had a right to be bitter. He’d been a greater guard since 1890, well over one hundred years. He’d put in for every promotion and nothing. Nadda. Not even a consideration. The only worse off than him was Noris.
And it’s his own fault. He shouldn’t have revolted all those years ago.
Except Dismas revolted, too, and he made Executioner.
The thought set Roger’s teeth on edge as he locked up and headed for the guard’s office. He reminded himself that Dismas had been appointed by Malick – the same crazy Malick who’d killed a bunch of his own people a couple months ago.
But now that Eileifr’s in charge, things are going to be different. That next Executioner slot will be mine.
Not that the last ones had gone to him. No, that had been Fallon, and Lisiantha, and Cyprus. The same Cyprus who then, so they’d been told, left to side with Malick. His replacement had been pretty quiet, no big announcements, just a down low, if-you-know-about-it, kind of affair.
And who the hell did they pick? Tellith!
Tellith hadn’t even been there during the battle, he hadn’t done anything special, no out of the ordinary bravery on assignments. Nothing.
I sure as hell am not calling him sir!
In fact, he wasn’t going to call any of the new ones sir. They hadn’t done anything to deserve it.
Except, maybe, Jorick.
Not that Jorick deserved to be an Executioner. Malick had made him an Executioner shortly before the revolt as punishment – punishment! – for fighting with too many Executioners.
I say they should have let him kill the rest off. More job openings that way.
With that thought, he breezed into the office, dismissing the guard on duty with a wave. The vampire gave a nod of appreciation and scurried away, no doubt to feed and rest. And why not? The sun would rise soon, and any vampires with natural instincts would be yawning all over themselves for bedtime.
Lucky bastards who don’t have to pull day shift.
He knew damn well why he was there, why he’d been taken off Executioner duty and stuck back in the citadel, in a lesser guard’s position. They might claim it was because they were understaffed, but it was really because of Aine.
Roger dropped into the chair behind the desk and glared at the tidy arrangement of office accoutrements. He’d been assigned to accompany Aine to catch a rogue. It turned out the vampire had created an immortal cat – a cat Aine blamed him for not turning over to be destroyed. He’d told the lesser council that he never had the cat, that the Executioner had it, but Aine denied it. He said he turned it over to Roger before they split up to come back to the citadel. The lesser council bought the story, put an official reprimand on his file, then sent him and three other guards back to the city in search of the beast. They didn’t find it, or any evidence of an immortal animal, which had made the reprimand worse. Shortly after, he was stuck on desk duty.
The worst part was, Roger knew why Aine had lied. A newly assigned executioner, Aine didn’t want to admit he’d lost the cat himself, probably on the way back to the citadel. He didn’t want the reprimand, so he passed it on.
Like the Executioners always do.
Roger leaned back in the chair, arms crossed. He glared around the room; at the ticking clock, at the plastic chairs, at the computer and the old filing cabinets. There were still case files in there that needed transferred to digital, but it wasn’t his problem. They had a team of lesser guards working on that – the same team that had been working on that for some time. Let them deal with it.
Roger checked the time- 6:22 a.m. – and adjusted the stapler so it was in line with the pencil cup. That looked better. Why did everyone always mess the desk up? When they came on shift, that desk would be perfect but when he took over again it would me a mess, with things stacked higelty pigelty. It wasn’t so hard to keep it neat, was it?
The phone rang. Roger stared at it for a moment, glanced to the clock – now 6:25 a.m. Who in the world would that be?
He snatched it up, giving the standard greeting. “Hello. Office.” They couldn’t say what office, just in case it was some random mortal with a wrong number. Weirdly, they got several of those.
But it wasn’t a mortal. It was Tellith. “Hey! Roger!”
“Yes?” he snapped back.
“Could you do me a favor and send over the details from an incident file? Apparently it’s not digital yet. Not sure the date…I think it’s sometime in 1976.” He broke off and spoke to someone in the background. “Yeah, ’76. Maybe in the autumn or the spring. It involved the Mount Moses coven.”
Roger sputtered. “It’s almost seven in the morning! Why aren’t you asleep?”
“No it’s not, its only five – oh! Yeah. Time zones. I’m in California. Anyway, I need the info on what happened and who was involved.”
“Why?” Roger rifled through the organizer of Executioner paperwork. Tellith. California. What the hell assignment was he even on?
“Well, they’re claiming that the group attacking them is part of that Mount Moses coven. I kind of remember them – they had that big complex and that crazy cult master? He had them all whipped up to believe he was the messiah and that he was giving them eternal life because he was a god. Didn’t Jamie work that one?”
“I don’t know!” Roger tugged Tellith’s papers free. A rogue in Arizona, a missing vampire in New Mexico…ah, California. An illegal coven war. That must be the assignment he was on. What information there was said that Ira, the leader of the host coven, had called it in because another coven was attacking them. The only details were a list of dates and assaults, nothing about who the other coven was.
“Yeah, I’m not sure, either. That’s why I need you to look it up for me, see who was in the coven, who’s accounted for, who might have slipped through the cracks. You can just text it to me.”
“You’re joking, right? It’s seven in the morning!”
“Yeah, yeah, you said that already. I guess it will give you something to do, since day shift is normally pretty quiet, huh? Thanks in advance. See you when I get back. We’ll catch a movie or something.”
“No, we-” But Tellith had already hung up.
Roger had no intention of looking anything up, let alone texting it all to him. Let one of the lesser guards do it.
The vampires who are actually supposed to be handling this kind of crap.
He pulled out an information form, meant to pass down important details to the next shift, and filled it in. Under special instructions he added, “Text Executioner Tellith the information.”
That should do it.
Roger straightened the desk again and leaned back in the chair. 6:57. Yep. Just another seven hours until he could go to his den.
Seven hours and three minutes.
That was plenty of time to go get a snack. It wasn’t like anyone else would call. Not this late in the morning. The sun was almost up – though there were floors of concrete and dirt above him, Roger could sense the glowing orb’s ascent. Soon it would rule the sky, its burning rays sizzling the world.
While all the good little vampires sleep.
Except him. He’d be awake, yawning and gobbling down all that extra blood to make up for being off schedule. And who was going to compensate him for that cost? They didn’t give him a raise when they stuck him on this shift, just said, “Thanks for helping out.” As if he’d had a choice in it.
I should quit. Just throw this polyester uniform right in Ian’s face and tell him and the rest of the lesser council to suck an egg….suck an egg. Where the hell did that phrase even come from, anyway? Why is sucking an egg bad? Who decided that telling someone to suck an egg was an insult?
Still pondering that, he made his down the corridors to the restaurant. Situated in the human friendly area of the sixth floor, the establishment served mortal and immortal alike, and was the only place still open at this ridiculous time.
And it’s on the same floor I am.
The upper floors had taken the most damage in the fight a few months ago. Though mostly repaired, there were still vestiges of the damage. A closed sign here, a caution sign there, big swaths of new, unpainted plaster…
The restaurant had been fixed relatively quickly. The front was open, so that he could see the light green walls. Bright orange flowers peppered tabletops, and shiny lacquered chairs gave it what was probably meant to be a modern look.
Not that Roger had kept up with modern anything.
A human lounged behind a shiny black bar, only standing up when he saw Roger. “Can I help you?”
“Blood,” Roger snapped. “Just give me a carafe. Someone can come pick it up in a couple of hours in the Executioner office.”
“Um…okay. Sir,” the kid added, and hustled to the kitchen. He was back shortly with a tray bearing a pitcher of crimson, a glass, and a folded white napkin.
The human rang it up and Roger gave him his account number to charge it to, then scooped up his meal and trooped back to the office. Nothing had changed inside, and he dropped into his chair behind the desk. As he poured a glass of blood, he noted the clock.
Only six and a half hours left.
Roger took his time drinking the first glass. He savored the flavor, the complex tones. He took half an hour at it. By then, the blood was warm, so he gulped the last of it and pushed the tray aside.
That was tasty.
He got on the computer and checked his bank account, to make sure the restaurant hadn’t charged him extra. They hadn’t, and his balance was just what it should be.
Pity. It would have been nice if it there was more money than I expected. A surprise bonus, maybe, for sticking me on this crappy shift.
As if they’d give him one. They should, but they wouldn’t.
Roger spent some time double checking the rest of the withdrawals on his account, but by 8:46 there was nothing left to do with it. He closed it out, and leaned back again, hands behind his head.
I hate day shift.
He watched the clock; watched the second hand slide around the face, watched the way the minute hand wobbled just before it clicked over. You’d think someone would have perfected clocks by now. They’ve been making them for how long? Long before I was born, that’s for sure. In all this time they haven’t made a minute hand that doesn’t wobble.
Or maybe they had. Maybe The Guild was just too cheap to buy one. That would be like them to get substandard equipment if it saved money.
Like the money they saved on these cheap ass uniforms.
At nine o’clock Roger tidied the desk again. He reread the information paper he’d completed for the next shift. Were the directions clear enough? He checked to see who was taking over for him – Noris. Right. Noris would never figure out what he was talking about. Never be able to find the file.
With an impatient huff, Roger stomped to the file cabinets and began his search. There were only a handful of files there, and none of them from the seventies. No, they’d be in the deep storage with the rest.
Through an unmarked door was a long, room lined in metal shelving and crammed with numbered boxes. Inside each were sequentially numbered case files; manila envelopes filled with clipping, photos, and handwritten reports. Roger squinted at the boxes and took a guess at what box would hold cases from 1976. He tugged out the top folder, but the date on it was 1983. The next box he tried was 1991. Then 1973.
What in the hell kind of numbering system are these idiot lesser guards using?
Roger took a calming breathe and thought back to the haphazard tour they’d given him. All the cases were cataloged in ugly binders, some held together with tape. Right. But where were they?
He found them on the shelf right inside the door. Labeled in chunks of years, he sorted through until one said 1968-1981. That would have a 1976 case in it. Or should. It was hard to make guarantees with these idiots.
Despite their subpar intelligence, there was an organization to it. The years were marked by multicolored tabs. Each plastic pocketed page was divided into neat rows with a case number, the date it was filed, the box it was filed in, the names of the principle vampires involved, the Executioner – or guard – assigned to it, and a couple of notes. Rogues in Colorado, said one. Coven war, ended in a draw in Massachusetts, said another. Vampire turned a herd of pet rabbits that escaped.
Roger paused at that one. He didn’t remember vampire bunnies, especially not vampire bunnies running loose. Whose case had that been?
He located the potential box and dug through neatly labeled folders. A few minutes later he flipped through the bunny file. Sure enough, a vampire named Johnson, fledgling of Kim, fledgling of Tier, had gone off to live alone and raise rabbits. Things had been fine until the first casualty. Then he’d gone off his rocker and turned the lot. Even then he would have bene okay if a tornado hadn’t come. It took out the hutches, and would have probably killed the bunnies, except he’d dragged all of them down to the cellar with him.
“Johnson says he takes the rabbits to the cellar every morning, to protect them from the sun. The rabbits have never ‘been fond of it’ in his own words. After the storm had passed, Johnson left the rabbits in the cellar to survey the damage above ground. He failed to latch the door properly and the animals escaped.”
Roger it back a snicker. He recognized Executioner Bren’s handwriting. He could just imagine the vampire’s indignation at having to deal with something as ridiculous and trivial as hunting down rabbits.
He sure thought he was something special. That’s probably what got him killed.
Roger skimmed the rest of the report. In the end they found a few of the animals, which thy destroyed. Johnson went crazy, had to be restrained, and was brought back to the citadel to be dealt with. As for the rest of the bunnies…
They just left them out there in the woods, but they penalize me for a cat I never saw!
With a huff, Roger stuffed the file back in the box and returned to the binders. He read through all the notes in 1976, but none of them mentioned the Mount Moses group, or a cult. Surely whoever filed it would have made mention of that?
“Obviously Tellith has the wrong damn year.”
That was like him, half-cocked and totally off base. Roger flipped through ’77, and ’78, then started going backwards. Finally, the Mount Moses cult was mentioned in 1974.
Two years off. It’s a good thing I’m doing this, Noris would never have found it.
Roger retrieved the file and packed everything up. His watch said it was 11:22, and the clock said 11:23. Either way, he’d killed almost three hours just looking for a damn folder.
If Tellith thinks I’m typing all of the report out in text messages, he’s crazy. Noris can do that.
Roger dropped back into the chair and opened the file. Neat handwritten pages looked back at him. Jamie had written it, which meant it was detailed and complete, unlike some of the other Executioners.
Aine, for example. His report on that cat incident was rubbish.
Roger had looked it up his first night there. It clearly said that the cat was given to him, even though it wasn’t.
“Your obsessing,” Tellith had said when Roger vented about it. “Let it go, man.”
But how the hell was he supposed to let it go when it was the reason he was stuck on this stupid shift, doing these stupid things?
He flipped through report, pausing to study photos of vampires, some dead, some alive. Whoever they’d had taking their pictures wasn’t very good. Many of the shots were blurry, poorly lit…He couldn’t even figure out who or what the last one was supposed to be.
The shrill ringing of the phone interrupted him. Impatiently he snatched it up. “I told you I’d find the damn file, okay? I have it here, but if you think I’m texting all of this-”
The voice who replied wasn’t Tellith’s, “Who is this?”
Roger dropped the photos to the desk and sat up straight, as if it would make his brain work better. “Sorry. I thought you were…Who is this?”
“This is Executioner Jamie. I need to speak with the head guard on duty.”
Jamie? What in the hell was an Executioner calling at this time for? Head guard on duty indeed, as if there was more than just him! “You are, sir.”
“Fine. I don’t have time to file an official report just now, but there are too many details to text. Are you ready?”
Ready? Ready for what?
“We’re in a park in China…Cheng-something. The Sodalitas had reports about it previously and sent Scharfrichter Wolfe to look around some time ago, so it should all be on file already so you can find the right name.”
Roger blinked. Jamie wanted him to find the name of the place he was at? Couldn’t he go look at a sign or ask someone?
Jamie gave a tired sigh. “Long story short, Malick attacked with a large force. They infiltrated the grounds. Casualties mostly come from the Sodalitas, so nothing to file there at the moment, or Malick’s ranks. Most of his army was wiped out, I think. I don’t know, the dust is still settling right now and Scharfrichter Wolfe has taken charge of things.”
Roger wasn’t sure if he was supposed to respond, so he managed an, “Uh-huh.” Did Jamie expect him to do something about this? Send reinforcements? Complain about the Sodalitas taking things over? What was the point of this call? And in the middle of the day?
Jamie muttered a few more comments about the battle, then added, “And Malick is dead. Jorick killed him.”
Roger interrupted, “Malick? As in the Malick? Who used to run things here?” The ancient, terrifying master Malick was dead?
“Yes,” Jamie said impatiently. “After that the Kugsankal showed up, looking for Samael, who disappeared a moment later. Of course they’ll want to track him down, but he isn’t our concern at the moment.”
Samael. The name was vaguely familiar. Where had he heard it before? Was he wanted or something?
“-let everyone know.”
Roger realized Jamie had been talking, but he hadn’t been listening. “Let who know? About what?”
“About Malick!” Jamie snapped. “The High Council will want to know.”
Before Roger could tell him that sending messages to the High Council wasn’t his job, the Executioner said, “I’ll call back later tonight with more details. Verchiel is here, too, and Jorick, though I wouldn’t expect any reports from them. Goodbye.”
And that was it. Roger stared at the phone, stared at the desk, stared at the open file.
“What in the hell?”
He shook himself back to sense. All right, so Malick was dead. The Malick. The one and only big, bad Malick. Okay. And he’d been ordered to deliver the message to the High Council.
But that’s not my job.
Executioners talked to the high council, not guards. And, since they refused to make him an Executioner, despite his myriad of qualifications…. Ian could just handle this.
He didn’t know Ian’s den number off the top of his head, so he had to look it up on the computer. He dialed the phone, and waited as the rings peeled off. When it reached twenty, the line disconnected automatically.
With a huff, he dialed again, and again. After the third disconnect he realized he was going to have to go in person.
They better pay me extra for this!
Roger stormed out of the office and to the elevator. Not only was this inconvenient, but it was completely unprofessional of Ian not to answer his phone. What if there was an emergency? That was the sort of the thing the head of the lesser council was supposed to deal with. Emergencies. That’s why he got the big den, and the big salary and the fancy title.
Then he can’t even answer his damn phone.
On the second floor, Roger stormed through empty halls, past the public areas, past the entrance to the Executioner’s block – where all the lucky bastards are sleeping – and finally to Ian’s door. He knocked loudly, waited, then knocked again. And again. And again.
God damn it.
“Ian! Hey! Wake up! Wake up!”
He pounded harder, and had just decided to forget the whole mess and leave an information sheet for the next shift, when Ian’s voice came from inside, “Hold on!”
Roger stopped, arms crossed, and the door flew open. Ian peered out, draped in a housecoat made of silk, his forehead puckered. “What in the name of- Roger?”
“Talk to Executioner Jamie. He demanded I wake you up immediately to tell you that Malick is dead.”
“He may be an Executioner, but he has no right – wait. What did you say?” Ian blinked.
“Malick is dead. Jorick killed him.”
“Executioner Jorick?” Ian snapped, his face folding back into fury. “As if he deserves such a title. Time in the dungeon would have been a better sentence.” He broke off and blinked. “He killed his own master?”
Roger rolled his eyes. “So Jamie said. He felt you’d want to inform the high council about it.”
Ian blinked again. “Yes. He’s right, of course. Eileifr will want to know immediately.”
Roger gave a sloppy salute. “In that case, I’m headed back to the office. Good luck with-”
“Oh no, no, no. No. You need to go to Eileifr’s chambers immediately. Yes. Go tell him at once. That’s an order.”
“Are you serious? But – sir – I’m not… the high council is out of my paygrade!”
“The tasks included in your ‘paygrade’, as you so eloquently call it, are whatever I deem them to be. Give Eileifr my good wishes.”
Ian disappeared inside, shutting the door firmly in Roger’s face.
“You have to be kidding!”
Close your eyes, make a wish – count to three. Roger did that, wishing that Ian would come back, laughing at his own joke, and telling roger not to worry, he’d handle it
Except Ian has no sense of humor and wouldn’t know a joke if it bit him in the jugular.
No, it was an order – an order he would have to follow.
With a growl that ended in a sort of sigh, Roger clomped back to the elevator. It wasn’t one with the basement keyslot in it, so he had to get off on the sixth floor and make his way to the elevator that had it. With doors that opened on both sides, it could be accessed from the corridor, or from the guard room at the base of the garage entrance.
Just to make things complicated.
Though after the attack, with all the retooling and reorganizing, Roger looked for that garage entrance to disappear. Having two ways in made things confusing and allowed for mistakes to be made. No, he imagined they’d funnel it all down soon, and then the guards would be in for a major overhaul.
Not to mention they’ll be more renovating.
He was musing on which entrance they’d keep – the garage with the ladder or the office with the backroom door – as the elevator descended. The thoughts stuttered off when the elevator touched down. Though not as terrible as it had been under Malick, Roger could still feel the press of the high council’s powers.
Might as well get this over with.
He pulled his key out of the slot, straightened his coat – if only that damned polyester would hold a crease – and exited. The hallway was made of black marble, as was the floor and ceiling, and trimmed in blood red. The effect was shiny and unnerving, and always made him think of an oriental castle. This was just the kind of thing a shogun would have leading to his throne room to scare his enemies. Or it was what he’d imagined they’d have, anyway.
He swallowed down his apprehension, head high as he marched past the pair of lesser guards who stood watch. There was always at least one on duty by the elevator, no matter the time of day, or the circumstances. They’d probably kept their post even when the citadel was under attack. Their primary duty was to defend the high council, whose chambers were down there, even though the high council members were a hundred times stronger than they were.
It’s all a power show, Roger mused to himself. It makes the high council feel important.
They didn’t stop him, or challenge him, and he made it to the turn in the corridor with no problem. Once around it, he paused to gather his courage. Waking Ian up by pounding on his door was one thing, but to wake Eileifr up that way? And at noon, no less? He should have just called him.
Except… does Eileifr have a phone in his quarters?
There was a good chance the answer was no. It wasn’t like ancients were on the technology bandwagon.
With no way out of it, Roger made himself walk to Eileifr’s door. He swallowed, counted to ten, and knocked. When there was no answer, he knocked again.
Maybe I should let him sleep. Maybe-
A voice boomed from inside, “Enter.”
And with it went all of Roger’s hope for escape.
He’d never been in Eileifr’s chambers before – had hoped he wouldn’t have to tonight – but there were no other options. Swallowing hard, he pushed inside, past an antechamber plastered in relief, to a large front room. Wallpapered in forest green, a Victorian pattern stood out in silver, peppered with large framed paintings, many of water scenes. The wooden floor was a silver gray, and scattered furniture was carved from heavy wood by someone with a great deal of skill.
Eileifr stood framed in a doorway, like a Viking god, with long golden hair and eyes the color of storm clouds. The impression was echoed by his long robes, and the way he stared at Roger with a perfect unlined, unflinching expression.
Like some kind of statue.
“Yes?” Eileifr demanded.
Roger dropped his gaze and bowed clumsily. The high council liked that kind of thing. All that kissing up. “Master, I…uh…Ian sent me.”
“Ian?” Eileifr drifted into the room, pausing to straighten a vase on a tabletop. “I assume it is an emergency?”
“I…uh…Executioner Jamie called. He…He reported that Malick has been killed.”
Eileifr’s voice rumbled like the ocean in one of the paintings, “I see.”
Roger felt he should say something, add more to it, except he didn’t remember much of what Jamie had said. Some kind of park? And Verchiel was there. Oh, the most important part. “It was Jorick that…that killed him. Sir. Master.” He amended hastily.
Eileifr ignored his discomfort. “As I assumed. It was only a matter of when. I have foreseen this many times, and no doubt Malick had come to expect it himself. It was in China, yes?”
“I-I don’t know,” Roger muttered. Had Jamie said where he was? Maybe he should have made notes.
But who knew I was going to be important?
“Yes,” Eileifr had said slowly. “I’m sure it was. In China. The culmination of an epic battle, where legends fought. So much power in one place, yet Jorick wouldn’t allow someone else to fulfill his destiny, would he? He ripped out Malick’s still beating heart with his bare hand, then drank from it, ending forever the hold his master had on him. Or so he thinks. But we can never be free of our masters, even with their death.”
Roger wasn’t sure what to say. Eileifr was a demon eye, a vampire who could see the future. Apparently, he already knew it was coming.
So why did I have to come tell him?
Eileifr adjusted a box on another table, then glanced to Roger. “Thank you for bringing me the news. I will tell the others myself. You may return to your duties.”
Roger saluted, then gave a couple of clumsy bows, and hurried out, pulling the door closed behind him. He sagged for a moment in the black corridor, then power walked to the elevator, ignoring the sleepy guards.
“Tell the others,” he muttered as the elevator ascended. As if there was a chance that Eileifr thought he might wake them up one by one and tell them. Ha! Facing one old powerful vampire was enough for him. He wasn’t waking them all up.
Not unless they promote me to Executioner. Then I’ll be happy to deal with them every day.
He exited on the sixth floor, but detoured to the restaurant for a drink. He deserved it after all the extra work he’d put in. Running around, waking up vampires, delivering messages…
It was almost two when he headed back for the office. He tidied up; straightening the desk, shoving the file in the cabinet, and even dumping the trash. He’d just plopped back in the chair when Noris slumped in, yawning.
“About time.” Roger pushed back from the desk and stood. “I figured you were planning to skip out.”
“Yeah, yeah, I should have.” Noris took the chair, still yawning. “Anything I need to know?”
Was there anything…Roger scoffed. “No, not at all. Nothing happened.”
“Good. I like a quiet day.” Noris leaned back and propped his feet on the desk, hands behind his head, eyes closed.
At the sight, all the details of Roger’s shift died on his lips. Noris wants to know why he can’t get promoted? That’s why. No respect. Putting his feet on the desk like that. And look at his uniform. Coat’s open, shirt’s not tucked in. And he has a stain on his pants. How is anyone supposed to take him seriously like that?
Noris opened an eye. “Is there anything else?”
“Nope, not a thing. As I said, it was a quiet night.”
Roger marched out of the office and toward his bed, muttering a single word to himself, “Idiot.”
- hello there 2. cross eyed 3. the nose knows 4. a new friend 5. seeing spots 6. seeing red 7. hello kitty 8. lady bird, lady bird, fly away home