Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Wasted Journeys

Roland was glad that he had decided to drive as he drove up to the next Bricklayer’s Arms in Putney. He had had no success in Fitzrovia, Poplar and the City and was beginning to believe that he had been set up. But why? Who would lead him on a wild goose chase all over town like this, and for what reason? He pushed the idea that someone wanted him out of his flat so that they could get at his Clan firmly to the back of his mind. He had called Malvolio and he and Proserpine were fine; having the usual arguments about getting homework done but fine. The block was an especially secure one and Malvolio would defend Proserpine with his life if he was required to.

Roland parked up and wandered through the entrance of the pub into its courtyard garden. Immediately Roland caught a familiar scent and stood smelling the air for a few seconds. His quest might well be over; the human Mike Costello had definitely been here. He could also scent the rank, stale odour of a vampire, but it didn’t seem to be Vladimirescu? He looked around, and could see no sign of Costello or Vlad. There were a couple of groups of hardy humans sitting at the scattered tables in the chilly spring air, but no vampire and no psychic.

He moved into the building and wandered around, even going upstairs and into the gents. The interior of the pub was empty of any identifying scents, except for a brief whiff of Costello at the bar.

‘That young man really should bathe more frequently’ thought Roland testily as he loped back down the stairs. He ignored the inviting looks thrown at him by a group of young women giggling at the bar, who had been attracted to his height, gleaming dark red hair and obviously expensive attire, and strode back into the courtyard. He didn’t want to draw attention to himself by obviously sniffing around, but meandered round the tables until he caught a stronger scent from an abandoned table in the corner.

The table had been fully cleared, but Costello and a vampire had definitely been sitting here. Frustrated that he must have missed the meeting, Roland could have howled but, as he was turning on his heel to leave, he spotted a rectangular white card underneath one of the chairs. He picked it up and turned it over. He scanned the card and his brow furrowed and his canines came sliding down over his bottom lip as he read the words

‘Lord Kingsteignton, 26 Clarence Crescent, Belgravia, London, SW1’

The fools! How had they let Kingsteignton get away? He had been a soiled, drivelling idiot when Roland had left Vladimirescu’s house. On the horns of a dilemma, Roland hurried back to his car. Did he return to Vlad’s house to see if he could find out what had happened to them or go to Kingsteignton’s house in Belgravia? Did he have time to do any more before he turned? He swore as he turned the key in the ignition and was promptly punished for not paying enough attention to what he was doing by backing into the car behind him, which would just happen to be a Porsche, with a resounding thump.

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