Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Q&A

The world flew past in a blur; trees that lined the streets seemed to dash with indecent haste away from the car, flashing blue of passing emergency vehicles with the accompanying sounds of the screaming sirens streaked past, as the car pelted towards its destination.

The radio played solid golden oldies, Beach Boys, Beatles, Stones and a DJ occasional burbled away in a transatlantic accent that was a staple of commercial stations a decade before. When the music petered out and before a fresh batch of adverts kicked in, the sound of thudding rain and phut phut of the windscreen wipers could be heard.

They car was making its way through the streets of London towards Pall Mall, the last bastion of gentlemen’s clubs that did not come complete with half naked women, encouraging men of a certain age to gaze upon their assets.

The Warrington Club was one of the lesser known clubs, unlike Whites or the RAC there was no club website, no club tie, and no waiting list for membership. You were either born into the society that were permitted membership or you weren’t – you required a title, vast quantities of money, and you needed to be a member of the Old Kingdom.

The entrance was discreet, and only the presence of a small brass plaque with the name carefully engraved gave any clue to the building’s purpose.

The car doors suddenly opened and two men, dressed identically, and somewhat comically, in hooded top and sunglasses approached the front door with a confident stride.

The two men ignored the impressive, if slightly sombre, d├ęcor – plush dark red carpeting and drapes, the large chandeliers that dominated the ceilings, and the rich, dark patterned William Morris wallpaper. They strode along the corridor toward a door marked private and being guarded by a small, rather nervous looking man in a pair of black slacks and dark red blazer marking him out as one of the stewards of the club. He stood quietly by the entrance to this private area of the club gently dabbing his forehead from time to time with a white handkerchief which he would stow in his blazer’s pocket.

If it was not the sight of two men, (one of whom could have claimed kinship with Everest, such were his proportions) then it was the cry of: “Steward, Steward, I need help!” coming from beyond the door that was adding to his increasing state of anxiety. He would not have been pleased to be hoisted by the two men, who appeared to have pulled from rucksacks large, sharp, wooden stakes, and whisked through the door.

The door slammed opened into the middle of a heated debate that was on the verge of boiling over. Tables had been overturned and glass was scattered liberally over the floor. One man, who had seemed quite relieved to see the door of the room being suddenly kicked opened, looked less than pleased by the turn of events, the other turned to face the new arrivals apparently recognising the smaller of the two men instantly.

“Vladimirescu?” asked a frankly startled Roland, he let the panicked figure of Lord Kingsteignton go and threw him causally against the back wall of the room.
“Roland de Cazalrenoux.” He nodded courteously in his direction.
“If you are looking to finish this weasel,” Roland spat, “Then you’ll find there is a queue.”
The Count grumbled at this, but Vlad silenced him with a look.
“These,” he indicated the stakes they were still holding, “are just for insurance, we are just here, like you, for some answers to some questions.”
“I have not finished with him myself – once I have my answers you can do what you like to him” Roland growled back.
“I would suggest that your questions are much the same as ours – concerning a missing werewolf, a kidnapping, and an attempt to wipe out the Romanian Vampires.” He replied calmly – not wishing to further enrage the Werewolf who was already showing small signs that he might turn at any moment.

Seeing that Roland was becoming calmer, Vlad and the Count picked the fallen vampire up and placed him back in his chair.

“Seeing as you were here first, it is only fair that you should begin.” He smile, and turned to the Vampire Lord. “And if you want to live to see the end of this day Kingsteignton, I would suggest a new tactic for you: honesty.”

The once proud and elegant Vampire cowered in his seat, his eyes shifting from Roland to Vlad. He was also aware of the large glowering presence of the battle scarred Count who looked ready to stake him there and then.

“I can’t tell you the truth, I can’t tell you anything” He began in strangulated tones.
“Why not, your Lordship” Roland asked.
“You may as well kill me now – it is nothing compared what I would go through if I say a word.” He said; what looked like tears forming in his eyes. “You don’t know who you are dealing with, any of you. He is back, and if you know what is good for you you’ll run and hide – he’ll bring the mother of all wars with him and I don’t think any of us will survive.”

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