December 15, 1998
My master's notes have proved effective; the plane tickets were valid (first class, I might add), and the car was waiting for me at the airport. Inside the glove box was the Glock 22 I had hoped to find. I left New Orleans, and drove the car (a 1997 Ford Tempo) to Belle Reve.
Once there, I drove through a rather dilapidated section of town - obviously the homes of the Great Unwashed. After finally entering a halfway decent area of town, I stopped at a small bar - the Lion's Head. I asked the bartender if she had heard of Desiree Vermillion. Sadly, the vast majority of the area encased by her skull seemed to be taken up by air, for she told me to seek out a place called "Rock Haven".
After driving around for about 10 minutes, I stopped and asked a chatty old woman if she had heard of Desiree. After about 15 minutes of pointless gibbering, she finally told me that I was actually looking for a large mansion called Stonehaven, at the far end of one of the city's main roads.
At the mansion, I parked the car and approached the gates to look for an intercom. I was somewhat startled by a pair of vicious guard dogs who lunged at me, but were thankfully stopped by a wrought iron gate. I took a closer look at the gate, and was surprised by its beauty and elegance; the inter-wrought angels seemed peaceful and yet powerful.
Having located the intercom, I "buzzed" (to coin an American phrase), and received someone in the security office. This individual was no doubt tall, muscular, with a crew cut and a limited vocabulary. My inquiries met with little success, and he absolutely refused to allow me in that evening (the cretin). I did however managed to book an appointment for 9:30 the following night.
Returning to my car (and having had the mouth-breather direct me to a decent hotel), I traveled to the city's nicest hotel (the name escapes me at the moment). There, I booked a room, and explained my somewhat specific requirements for daylight service. The manager (an obsequious little toady named Todd) did not seem at all surprised by my requests. I cannot help but feel that there are more than just a handful of the "Kindred" here in Belle Reve.
I decided to go out for the remainder of the evening, as I had yet to feed. On my way out the door, I overheard Todd on the telephone, mentioning my name. I immediately froze, and tried to overhear his conversation. However, apart from the occasional muttered word, I had no luck. I tried to move closer, but the git must have heard me, for he immediately changed the subject of his conversation.
Back out on the street, I drove towards Sonique - the town's trendy, spoiled rich-brat hang out. I had originally decided to go back to the Lion's Head, but instead decided to visit the dance club, assuming I had a better chance of feeding off of its clientele.
I parked, and approached the club - only to notice quite a line of people waiting to get in. Luckily, $50 was sufficient to bribe the guard (let's try to remember our American terminology - bouncer!) to let me in ahead of the rabble. I asked the bartender how I would gain entrance to the VIP lounge upstairs (having heard tell of this from the bartender at the Lion's Head). He told me to see a bouncer inside named Fred.
Inside the club, I almost immediately turned and left. The music - and I use the term in its loosest sense - was loud, horrendous, and entirely without redeeming qualities. I'm quite certain that if one were to set up a microphone on the side of a cliff, wait patiently for an avalanche, and record the result, he could easily put it on a CD and sell the resultant random noises as "techno-hip" or some other such nonsense.
Despite my finer instincts, I approached Fred, my ears gradually adjusting to the background clamor. Despite our distance from the dance floor, the music was still loud enough to require shouting. Fred and his companion guarded a sweeping staircase which led up to the second floor - undoubtedly some kind of urban Nirvana where the inconsequential but rich citizens of the town went to make themselves feel superior.
Fred, like the oxygen-deprived dolt from the mansion, refused to allow me entrance. He offered to put my name in an appointment book, which would have allowed me upstairs sometime before the Millennium. However, after I offered a sizable monetary incentive, he did admit that it would be possible to gain entry sometime soon. If there is one positive thing you can say about Americans, it's the fact that their greed makes them predictable.
After mentioning that I was to see Desiree the next day, Fred told me there would be an appointment available the next day. However, when he discovered that I did not know her personally, he changed the appointment to two weeks hence. This was obviously inadequate, so I left, telling Fred that I would arrange entrance with Desiree when I saw her the next evening.
I decided to take a seat at the bar and observe the cattle…I mean, club patrons. However, I had no more than selected my seat when I noticed and attractive woman coming my way. Too beautiful by far, for should one such as her show up dead in an alley, the inquiry was sure to be intense. I moved away, and searched for a quiet (well, relatively quiet) booth.
While all booths were taken, I did find one with only three inhabitants - two young women, and a boy. Obviously too young to be here legally, they were nervously scanning the room. As I approached, I overheard one whisper "Oh shit, a bouncer!". I approached, and set them at their ease, asking if I could join them. They accused me of being some kind of lecher, interested in the girls, but I tried to set them at their ease. Still, it was not until my offer to purchase drinks for them that they relented.
Once seated, I began to search for a suitable subject. I considered my companions, and had half-heartedly decided on the brunette (the blonde seemed to be enamored of the young man). After the man left to visit the WC, I learned from his companions that he was a member of a gang - the Watchmen, to be precise. They both seemed quite impressed with the youngster, and the atmosphere of danger they undoubtedly believed he possessed. Quite frankly, if mortals were truly capable of sensing danger they would be much more difficult quarry.
While we discussed young Johnny-Dangerous, a woman entered the club. Young, beautiful, with an air of suppressed violence, she walked past Fred as if he were not even present - obviously one of the small pond's big fish. She returned after awhile, and ended up in what appeared to be a heated argument with another young lady - the same one I had avoided earlier. She left the club moments later.
Having learned that the young man was a violent criminal, I decided to instead feed on him. When he returned, however, it was obvious that he had been indulging in some illicit drug use whilst in the WC. Obviously, he was out. Upon his return, he and the two girls left the club, leaving me alone.
At this point, I decided to leave, and try my luck in the city's seedier district. While there seemed to be ample opportunity to feed, the subjects were all obviously under the influence of one substance or another. Eventually, I ended up following a growing crowd to another club - the Urban Voodoo. I recalled that my drinking companions had mentioned this club earlier, referring to it as the "in" place to be.
As I watched, scanning the crowd for a likely straggler, a black sports car of some sort pulled up to the front doors. Who should get out, but the beautiful big fish herself? Obviously the daughter of some rich local merchant out slumming, she entered an alley, returning after a few minutes with a strange man. What they were getting up to in the alley, I would rather not begin to imagine.
She entered the club, and I turned down an alley. Luckily, I managed to find a street walker, and talked her into entering the alley with me (well, offered to pay her). I fed, and left her for dead, slashing her throat to mislead the authorities. Before I could leave, a voice from the darkness hailed me.
We spoke, and it became obvious to me that the voice was toying with me. My ire building, I noticed a rat standing nearby. I swung my cane down, aiming for the rat, but missed - and my cane bounced back up, slamming into my face. I suffered no damage, but my pride was severely damaged. The voice then admonished me, warning me not to harm its "pet". Of course, exactly what kind of freak hangs around in alleys and keeps rats for pets, I'd rather not imagine.
The voice did do me a service, by telling me who the head of the Kindred in Belle Reve was. He told me to go to Sonique, go to Fred, and introduce myself as a "cousin of Alexander Vermillion". With this, the Voice went quiet. I assume it fled, but of course, the nasty little voyeur probably shadowed me for awhile.
I returned to Sonique, quite satiated, and approached Fred once more. I delivered my message - tacking on a self-satisfied "I told you so" in the process - and he went upstairs. He returned a few minutes later, telling me to meet Alexander at Stonehaven the next evening at 9:15. This works out well, of course, as I have another meeting there at 9:30.