Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The Sun Finally Sets

Roland pulled himself together and started up the steps that led to the entrance to the apartment block. He would definitely have to take a shower now, before he popped in to say goodnight to Malvolio and Proserpine. It was just not vampire that he reeked of now; he knew that Malvolio would instantly pick up the scent that he had been aroused by a woman and the anger and resentment that followed it.

He stepped into the lift, making sure that he was not seen and thankfully let himself into his apartment. He flung open the wide glass doors that led out onto the terrace overlooking the Thames, and then went into the bathroom and turned the shower on to it's hottest setting.

He stood under the stinging hot needles of water for at least twenty minutes, trying to wash away all the grime and accumulated debris of his day. His mind was spinning; who should he trust, whose story should he believe. And always the alluring image of Eunice Batchworth was trying to push it's way to the front of his mind and into his awareness.

He turned off the jets and towelled himself down. After shrugging on a thick navy blue towelling robe, he padded back into his lounge to look over the pile of post he had brought in with him and listen to the messages promised by the winking light on the machine. He poured himself a glass of whisky from the decanter on the side and flung himself down on the sofa to go through the myriad envelopes. One in particular, caught his eye and he fished it out. The envelope was pink and was edged with lavender ribbon. It wafted a strong odour of attar of roses when he turned it over, and written on the back in lavender ink was the name and address of the sender:

Mlle Simone de Grandjean, 14 The Corniche, Monte Carlo.

Roland frowned. He had never heard of anyone by that name before, so how did they know his name and address? He was paranoid about the security of the Clan, and only trusted intimates knew addresses and phone numbers of Clan members.

He was about to rip the envelope open and, hopefully, solve the mystery when the phone rang and his answering machine whirred into action.

'De Cazalrenoux you are being played for a fool. The vampire is meeting his human psychic friend this evening at the Bricklayers Arms. Trust no-one!'

The message was delivered in a gruff, low tone, as though the speaker was talking through a scarf. Roland played back the message several times to see if he could gain more information about who had called. The number used was blocked, and Roland couldn't tell if the caller was male or female, what accent they spoke in, or even if the message had been pre-recorded.

Was the message for real or was he being set up? There were several Bricklayer's Arms in London, if he was to try and intercept the meeting he would probably have to do a mini pub-crawl!

He thought furiously for a few minutes and then decided that action was the best way forward. He sighed heavily and got on his feet to go into his bedroom and dress. As he looked out onto the terrace he could see the sun dipping down over the river in a fiery glow. He was due to turn tonight when the moon rose, so he needed to track Vladimirescu and his psychic chum down swiftly; he could not risk turning in a crowded London pub or on the street!

He had entirely forgotten about the scented pink envelope that had fallen back onto the sofa as he stood up; that now lay discarded on the black leather of the seat cushions.

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