The Dresden Files: Portland

Side Job: Emerald City (Part One)

Karkana Chronicles Five

January 5, 2013 (Early Morning)

Brianna Karkana drives the rented sports car to Seattle while Madeline Raith sits and seethes in the passenger seat. With the high emotions in the air, and Madeline giving off “food vibes” for her, Brianna cracks the window, hoping to tone things down in the car.

For the first two hours of the drive, no one speaks. Brianna stops at a rest stop due to the tension and gets out to walk around. Madeline stays in the car. After a couple of minutes of fresh air, Brianna gets back in the car. Madeline is on her phone. Brianna quietly asks if Madeline needs her to leave, if it is a private call. Madeline impatiently motions for Brianna to drive. It turns out she’s making a hotel reservation.

When Madeline finishes with the call, Brianna asks, “Where are we staying?”

“The Hotel Sorrento.”

Brianna takes this as an opportunity to ask some questions. “Is there a general agenda for the next few days? What do I need to expect?”

“I have a contact in Seattle. We’ll hopefully be meeting with her later today.”

“Is this someone you trust?”

Madeline shrugs. “Trust is a strong word, but she knows discretion.”

“Have you been to Seattle before?” Brianna asks.

“Only briefly.”

“Is there a strong White Court presence there? Or is it Red Court? I’m trying to get a sense of the situation we are walking into.”

“These are the things I hope to find out from my contact.”

Brianna quietly continues to drive.

They arrive at the Hotel Sorrento at about 5 am. The valet parks the car after Brianna gets their bags. Brianna leads the way inside and looks for threats. Madeline goes to the check-in desk. A bellhop comes and offers to take the bags. “I got it,” Brianna says.

The two head upstairs to the fifth floor suite that Madeline has secured. Brianna takes Madeline’s bag to the bedroom and throws her own duffle on the couch in the living room. She then sweeps the room and checks all of the entry and exit points, locking doors along the way.

“What’s the plan now?” Brianna asks.

“We get a bit of sleep. And then we head to Capitol Hill.”

“What’s Capitol Hill? Is that a neighborhood.”

Madeline nods. She then goes and takes a shower. After she’s finished, Brianna takes a turn in the shower and also uses the sink to wash her clothes. She hangs them up to dry in the bathroom.

Brianna goes into the living, folds out the sofa bed and lies down. She then texts Joey: GOT TO SEATTLE SAFELY. She gets a return text pretty quickly: GOOD. CALL MEL. Brianna then sets the alarm on her phone for three hours and goes to sleep.

At about 9 am, Brianna gets up and calls Mel. “My family business has been keeping me longer than expected. However, I want my boy to fight. So I was think you could arrange for one of the other managers to work with him while I’m out of town.”

“Do you have any suggestions?” Mel asks. And Brianna provides him with some.

“Joey’s doing well,” she says, “I don’t to him to skip. He needs to be out there.”

“I agree,” Mel says.

“Great. Obviously some kind of cut will have to be arranged. I trust you to do what’s fair. Just text me with the details.”

“I’ll get on it.”

“Thank you, Mel. I appreciate it.”

While she waits on Madeline to get up, Brianna exercises for a while. She then goes and puts the DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door. Finally, fed up with waiting, she lightly knocks on Madeline’s door. Madeline answers the door in a bathrobe.

“It’s 10 o’clock. I don’t know how late you wanted to sleep.”

Madeline yawns. “Rage is exhausting. I don’t know how you do it.”

Brianna smiles. “I suspect we’re both a mystery to each other.” She points at the bathroom. “May I?” Madeline motions for her to go ahead. Brianna goes inside and shuts the door. She then changes clothes and washes what she was wearing. She then leaves and goes and sits on the couch in the living room while Madeline gets ready. Finally, Madeline emerges from her room.

“Ready, then?”

“I am.”

The two head out and go downstairs to the car. Madeline gives Brianna an address to put into the GPS.

January 5, 2013 (11:00 am)

Capitol Hill is a neighborhood where the counterculture rubs shoulders with multimillionaires. If the number of Pride flags are any indication, it is also home to a thriving LGBT community. The GPS takes them to a nice townhouse. Brianna parks the car on the street, gets out of the car and then opens the car door for Madeline.

As their walking up to the townhouse, Madeline comments, “Felicia sees most of her clients at night so I hoping to catch her between jobs.”

Brianna quirks an eyebrow, but says nothing. Madeline rings the bell. Soon, the door opens to reveal an athletic young man in leather pants, no shirt, a leather bow tie, and a “gimp” mask. He unzips his mouth-hole and says, “Yes?”

Brianna is gritting her teeth and trying not to blush. Madeline says, “I don’t have an appointment, but my name is Madeline Raith. I’d like to speak with Mistress Felicia.”

I didn’t get enough sleep for this, Brianna thinks.

The young man motions for them to come inside. The town home is elegantly furnished and apportioned. The man points to a set of couches in an adjacent sitting room. Madeline sits while Brianna stands close by. The man nods and leaves.

Soon they are joined by Mistress Felicia, a woman in tall, leather boots, stockings, a bustier, and a black kimono. Her long, dark hair is pulled into a tight pony tail. Her red lipstick gleams against her pale skin. “Madeline! It’s been so long!” She sweeps into the room and greets a now-standing Madeline with a kiss on the cheek. She then sits and asks, “So what brings you to Seattle?”

“Revenge,” Madeline says in a serious tone.

Felicia quirks an eyebrow, “Please tell me I’m not on your path.”

“No, of course not.”

Felicia seems relieved. “Well then, how can I help. You know that I am always at the service of the White King’s progeny.”

“First, this one is off the books.”

Felicia nods. “Of course.”

“Second,” Madeline continues, “who is the Margrave of Seattle?”

“Alfonse Velasquez. Tell me he is not on your path.”

Madeline says nothing.

“No, Madeline. This is a bad idea. The Margrave is the power of the Red Court in Seattle. Surely you’ve heard of the war. They are winning over here. You aim too high.”

“Calm yourself,” Madeline says, “I only wish to talk.”

“He may see you. Your name obviously carries weight.”

“Of course he’ll see me,” Madeline says, annoyed. “He tried to kill me three times!”

Felicia frowns. “Madeline, what can I do?”

“How can I speak to him?”

“He holds court at La Porte Triple. That’s all I know.”

“Then that’s all I need.” Madeline looks at Brianna. “As my head of security, do you have any questions?”

“How strong are his forces?” Brianna asks Felicia.

Felicia looks at Brianna for the first time since entering the room. “I’m not intimately familiar with his forces…”

Brianna clarifies. “At this place—La Porte? Is it a large force?”

Felicia nods. “Large, yes.”

“What exactly is this La Porte Triple?” Brianna asks.

“It’s an entertainment venue. Three stages. Private rooms. He holds court in one of the private rooms.”

“What kind of entertainment?”

Felicia grins wickedly. “Don’t worry. Safe entertainment. Music. Dance. Perhaps burlesque.”

Brianna asks. “What did you mean by ’they’re winning here’?”

“By all accounts, the Warden here is overworked and understaffed. The Red court takes more territory every month.”

Brianna asks Madeline if she has ever met Velasquez. She shakes her head “no.” Brianna then turns to Felicia. “Can you describe him?”

“Tall, distinguished older man with a beard. He’s an old Spaniard. Very old.”

“Who has his ear to gain audience?”

“That would be Vanessa, the hostess. Oh, if you really wanted his attention, there’s his get, Alissa.”

“It may come that we want to get his attention,” Brianna says, musing.

“Yes,” says Madeline, “let’s get his attention.”

“And where is Alissa?” Brianna asks.

Felicia shrugs. “I know she is part of his court.”

“Does Alissa have a last name?”

“Tanner.”

“Is she also an old Spaniard?” Brianna arches an eyebrow.

Felicia turns to Madeline and says, “She’s a saucy one. I can beat that out of her if you wish.”

Brianna gives Felicia an unfriendly look as Madeline chuckles. “No, then you’ll ruin what she gets paid for.”

Felicia shrugs and answers Brianna’s question. “No, she’s a young blonde.”

Brianna looks at Madeline and says “I don’t have any more questions.”

Madeline rises. She and Felicia swap cheek kisses. “Thank you. You’ve been most helpful.”

“Always willing to help a friend.” Felicia sees them to the door and watches them exit.

Brianna and Madeline get in the car and Brianna drives in no particular direction.

“What is your end goal?” Brianna asks.

“Satisfaction. He tried to kill me three times. I want to send a message that this isn’t done.”

“I’m just trying to get a sense of what I need to guard you from.”

“It sounds like Red Court vampires.”

“If this is something where when he hears you’re in town, and he’s already tried to kill you three times, and you’re in the heart of his power, he could start sending people after you,” Brianna says. “So is your goal to take your revenge from the shadows or is your goal to be in his face about it?”

“I don’t get satisfaction if he doesn’t know where it comes from. So my thought was to find his get and then deliver her head to him at La Porte. I think it sends a message.” Madeline’s voice is clipped and full of pique.

“It sends a definite message. It makes our exit strategy more tricky, though. Assuming you’re delivering said head personally.”

Madeline sighs.

Brianna continues. "I’m here to guard and I will do that. And while I have quite a bit of faith in my abilities, and you’d put up quite a fight yourself, my goal is not to get in a situation that we can’t fight our way out of.

“Do you have any ideas?” Madeline asks, exasperated.

Brianna thinks for a few minutes. This Alissa does sound like she would be one of his weak points. I’m assuming that you wanted to be there to relish your revenge in his face?"

“It’s enough that he knows it’s me.”

“That will make it easier. Whether its her or his choke-hold on the city.”

“I’m not here to save Seattle,” Madeline says.

“Understood. Would you be easily recognized by his people?”

“It depends on how familiar they are with the White Court, but I’m not familiar in Seattle circles.”

Brianna nods. “That can work to our advantage. We follow his people, patterns, etc.”

“Do you have something cooking?”

“Nothing concrete. But anything you want to do, we’ll need more information. We have three names and a place. We need more on-the-ground information.”

“So how do you suggest we get that?” Madeline asks.

“Well, we’ll have to go visit his court. I have a name and a description for Alissa. I suspect there are a lot of young blondes in Seattle. Unless you have another contact?”

“I do not.”

“Then I’m not sure there’s anything to be done about it.”

“But it was my name that was supposed to get me in there,” Madeline says.

“Your name was going to get you in that room. If we go to the venue without going inside the room, it seems like people would be coming in and out of that room. We could watch those people.”

“I see.”

“Regardless, I see that as the first thing we do. Assess his territory.”

Brianna stops driving randomly and puts “La Porte Triple” into the GPS.

La Porte Triple is a fairly sizable venue. There is a valet station out front and parking garages nearby for parking. According to its website, it presents “unique entertainment”. Tonight, the first stage, is Boyesque—an all-male burlesque show. On the second stage is a jazz ensemble. And on the third stage is a local rock band. Dress appears to be casual, but with with a distinctly hipster vibe. Doors open at 6 pm. Brianna drives all around the venue, checking it out.

“Plan to come 2-3 hours after the opening.”

“I suppose so,” Madeline says.

“Did you want to go back to the hotel or did you have other plans?”

“Hotel.”

Brianna drives back to the hotel. The two head up to the suite. Madeline goes into her bedroom and shuts the door. As Brianna settles in on the couch, Mel texts her that a fight is set for the 6th and a manager’s name, one of Brianna’s suggestions. Brianna calls Joey to let him know and he says that Mel already called him.

“Everything still okay out there?”

“Everything is fine,” Joey reassures her.

“Is the security system in the apartment hooked up yet?”

“Yes.”

“Let me know how your fight goes,” she says and hangs up.

Brianna waits on Madeline to emerge from her room.

January 5, 2013 (6 pm)

Madeline finally emerges from her room, ready to go out. “I may need to feed before we do this.”

“Okay,” Brianna says. “Where did you want to go?”

“Pioneer Square.”

Brianna cleans up in the bathroom and then the two head out to the car. Brianna drives them Pioneer Square in the old downtown of Seattle. She parks the car and then she and Madeline start walking, with Madeline leading the way and Brianna shadowing her.

Madeline ducks into a nightclub, goes to the bar, and orders a drink. Brianna takes a cocktail table with a view of the bar. Men start to circle her at the bar; she flirts and encourages them. Finally, she begins to focus on one of the men and Brianna can her lightly touch his arm. Suddenly, she notices the lust-filled look in the man’s eyes. The man pays the bar tab and he and Madeline make their way out. Brianna tails them.

The two head toward a parking garage. The man can hardly keep his hands to himself and Madeline encourages him expertly. As they make their way into the dimly-lit garage, Brianna hides. She watches as Madeline shoves the man against his car and kisses him passionately, practically straddling him in the process. The she sees a ghostly wind stir Madeline’s hair and the man start to struggle, then return the embrace. Then the man collapses in front of Madeline and she backs up to let him fall. She heaves a breathy sigh and looks over her shoulder at Brianna, who is unhappy and miserable. Again.

“Let’s go,” Madeline says.

The two head back to the car in silence. Brianna drives to La Porte Triple and parks at a nearby parking garage. They then walk over to the venue from the garage.

They are met at the door of La Porte by a leggy, statuesque woman in an attractive business suit. “Welcome to La Porte Triple,” she says. “To which door may I direct you?”

There are three stages and a lounge off of the main anteroom of the venue. Brianna says, “The lounge.” The woman then motions in one direction and tells them that Scott will be happy to help them. As Brianna and Madeline walk away toward the lounge, Brianna can feel the hostess’ eyes on the back of her head. She reverses direction and takes cover by a pillar, looking back at the hostess. All she sees is the hostess greeting people. She catches up to Madeline and continues to the lounge.

The two then begin to circulate in the lounge and in the anteroom, hoping to overhear whether or not the hostess they encountered was Vanessa and hoping to see Alissa Tanner. Brianna also wants to get a sense of whether or not there are other “predators” about—but it’s hard in this environment, where every pickup artist is predatory in some way. As they mingle, men approach both Madeline and Brianna but Brianna is good at sending them on their way. Madeline, on the other hand, seems to be enjoying herself.

Brianna spots a handsome young man in a tailored suit speaking briefly with the hostess, who they are now able to identify as Vanessa. Brianna gets closer, hoping to overhear their conversation. She doesn’t hear it all, but does overhear the name “Raith” being mentioned. He is then directed to the venue with the jazz band performance.

Brianna catches up to Madeline, who extricates herself from a potential date. Brianna points to the man in the tailored suit. "I heard him say “Raith” to the hostess," Brianna explains.

Madeline nods. “It appears we have door number two.”

Both women head to the ticket counter at the second venue to buy tickets. The private rooms are all occupied, but they can buy seats even though the performance has already started. They then open the side door and head into the venue.

They walk down a hall toward the entry door into the actual venue. Near the door into the performance hall, the corridor splits, with a ramp heading up into the private rooms. The ramp is manned by a staff member taking tickets. Brianna and Madeline head into the performance hall and stand at the back. They see the private viewing rooms overlooking the audience to the left. They then head to their seats, hoping to catch a glimpse of the man in the suit inside the glass. Unfortunately, the angle is wrong, and all they see is a reflection in the glass.

“He’s up there somewhere,” Brianna says.

“Do you have something in mind?” Madeline asks mildly.

“I don’t like not knowing where he is up there. I don’t like that he said ‘Raith’. I don’t know if you wanted to get close to your prey tonight…” Brianna says.

“This isn’t my forte,” Madeline says.

Brianna nods. “My solution is usually to punch them in the face. I’m not in my element, either. Perhaps it would be better to get out and see if they come out. We can’t get into the private rooms. We can’t bribe our way in, they’re full.”

“I’m game, if you are,” Madeline says.

The two head out of the performance hall and Brianna looks back at the ramp. The staff member is letting in a young, blonde woman. Both Madeline and Brianna study the woman for a moment. She’s underdressed, based on the other guests at the venue. She’s a bit like a punk, in a dark tank-top and jeans. After she moves makes her way around the corner, Brianna approaches the staff member.

“Yes ma’am,” he says.

“Are those the private rooms?”

“Yes.”

“Are they full?”

“Yes.”

“Are they nice? How many people can they hold? I’m thinking of booking one for an event.”

“They’re nice. They seat about ten people.”

“Do they tend to book up fast? Do we need to make reservations?”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Thank you.”

As they’re heading out, Madeline says, “That ticket taker was not as nervous as he seemed.”

“You think it was an act?” Brianna asks.

“I think he’s Red Court.”

Brianna nods. “That would make sense. If the room holds then, then there’s one more with the ticket taker, that’s quite a force to get through.”

The two leave the performance hall and settle into the anteroom. Brianna looks for a place to observe the door to the hall that has good cover and selects an area of the room to stakeout. She and Madeline then proceed to watch the door for either the man in the suit or the young blonde woman.

“How good are you at following someone without being seen?” Brianna asks.

“I’m not used to stalking my prey, but I’m fairly good at it.”

“We may need to follow someone out of here.”

Madeline nods. “The question is who.”

Brianna looks at her. “I’m equally concerned about both of them. I want you to get a good look at the man in the suit. I want to know if you recognize him. I didn’t notice anyone following us, but someone has been talking. It’s too much of a coincidence, otherwise.”

“I guess we’ll see who comes out first,” Madeline says.

The two wait and observe. Finally, they see the young blond woman stalk out of the building. Brianna notes that she carries herself like a hunter. They decide to wait for the man in the suit. They wait some more and then see him come out. When he emerges from the hall, Madeline mutters angrily under her breath, “Peregrine Raith.”

“I take it you know him,” Brianna says.

“He’s a cousin,” Madeline says through gritted teeth.

“Why would one of your cousins be here of all places?”

“This is Lara’s doing,” Madeline says.

“Are we following,” Brianna asks.

“Yes.”

They follow the man to the valet station. He then turns and looks at the women, cocking his head, and says “Madeline?” with some surprise.

“Perry,” Madeline says.

Fuck Brianna thinks.

“What in the blazes are you doing here?” Perry asks Madeline.

Brianna can tell that Madeline is angry at Peregrine and at the situation. “I’m taking care of our family name. What are you doing here?”

“Well, we can’t talk about this standing out here, can we? Where are you staying?”

“Do you really need to know that information?” Brianna says.

“And you are?” Perry asks, looking at Brianna. Brianna then notices that this man is extremely attractive. She finds herself filled with lust for him, such a strong desire that its distracting.

“My bodyguard,” Madeline says.

“She’s cute,” Perry says. “What’s your name?”

“Brianna.” Brianna is blushing and extremely uncomfortable at the attention she’s getting from this man.

“Brianna, we’re all friends here. But we have private matters we need to discuss. We can do that at your hotel, at my hotel, or some other place where we can sit down together. But my motor is running.”

Brianna looks to Madeline. “Hotel Sorrento,” Madeline says.

“Thank you,” Perry says. “I’ll see you there.” He then gets in his car and leaves.

Brianna feels relieved; now that he was gone, she could see things clearer. But she’s confused about her sudden surge in emotion. The man never touched her.

The two head to their car and go back to the hotel. Perry is waiting in the lobby. When they meet up with him, Brianna feels her lust coming to the fore again. On the elevator up to the room, Brianna avoids standing near Perry and sticks close to her charge.

The three go to Madeline’s suite and take seats in the living room area. Even Brianna takes a seat.

“Lara called you, didn’t she?” Madeline asks.

“Well, you did make a mess and I’m the one she usually calls. I’m here to clean it up. Specifically, to stop a war,” Perry says.

“And what about me? No one gives two shits for that, do they?”

“As usual Madeline, it’s about bigger things than you.”

“So have you gone in, rolled over, and showed them our belly yet?”

Perry shakes his head. “We’re demanding a concession from him. We’re in negotiations as to what that concession will be. No one wants a war between the White and the Red. Not even Velasquez. It is against his interests. At least, that’s how I see it. No you’re here and all that could go up in smoke.”

Madeline crosses her arms, seething. “But what of satisfaction?”

“Surely you’re satisfied with the assassin? is that not enough?”

“No, it’s not. Not by a long shot.”

Perry sighs. “What are you planning, Madeline?”

Brianna excuses herself. “I’ll be back in a minute.” She goes to the bathroom and runs water on her face. She finds herself calming down. “Pay attention,” she says to herself. “Stop looking at his lips.” Now that her lust is no longer inflamed, she realizes that something supernatural has happened. Unhappy and embarrassed, and more than a little angry, Brianna punches the bathroom mirror.

“Brianna, are you alright?” she hears Madeline call.

“I am now,” Brianna says. She re-enters the living room with a bloody fist and a scowl.

“What’s wrong?” Madeline asks.

Brianna stares at Perry, her body shaking in rage. “I don’t know how you’re doing it, but stop it.”

Catching something deadly in Brianna’s eyes, Perry raises his hands, palms out in surrender and says, “Very well.”

Madeline sighs. “Oh, Peregrine, you didn’t. Bad form, Perry. Bad form. You’re lucky she doesn’t tear off your head, now.”

Perry eyes Brianna warily. She then swings and bloodies Perry’s nose. “Do not try that on a Karkana again. I’m no one’s food.”

Perry wipes his nose and nods. “I suppose I deserved that.”

Brianna draws a deep, shuddering breath and backs off.

“Karkana, huh?” Perry says.

“Yes,” Brianna hisses.

“That was exciting,” Madeline says.

Perry sits down. “So that’s what’s left. I have a job to do. I’d prefer if yo didn’t make it harder. Leave Seattle to me.”

“I’ll consider it,” Madeline says.

“That’s all I can ask for.” Perry rises and heads for the front door. Brianna watches him leave and then goes and locks the door.

“So what’s our next move?” Madeline asks when Brianna returns.

“What did I miss when I was out of the room?”

“I shocked my cousin by telling him my original plan. He advised me against it. As if I would tell him my actual plan.”

“You still want her dead?” Brianna asks, referring to Alissa.

“I want her compromised. Or neutralized. She’s a lever. But how to use her? Dead could work; it’s not elegant but I don’t care.”

“I don’t have any immediate suggestions on how to compromise her. Were you thinking of something?” Brianna asks.

“We need more information. Perhaps we should have followed her instead of Perry…”

“I can’t argue with that. Will your cousin tip our hand to Velasquez?”

“Only if it will help in his negotiation.”

“That’s not reassuring.”

“No,” Madeline agrees, “it’s not.”

“Did he ever tell you what kind of concessions they’ll be asking for?”

“Most likely territory in Seattle for the Raiths.”

Brianna says. “Well, if we need more information on Velasquez’s get, we’ll need to follow her again. I suppose if we know the right people to pay off or persuade, we might could do it, but we don’t. With her being Red Court, we have a limited time to follow her—with sunlight, she has to lair up.”

“We could try gathering information from the supernatural community here in Seattle. It will be more difficult, not being from here,” Madeline says.

“Also, with the Red Court being feared, some may believe there is a chance to so something against her,” Brianna suggests.

“We’ll gather some information tomorrow,” Madeline says. “Then we’ll try to follow Alissa, assuming she goes back to La Porte. Do you need to go feed?”

“I don’t trust myself right now, so no,” Brianna says.

“Then I’ll see you in the morning.”

“What was your cousin doing, exactly? How was he doing it?” Brianna asks.

Madeline looks confused. “He was inciting emotion in you…”

“He never touched me,” Brianna says through gritted teeth.

“Some of us develop that ability to the point where we can do it at range. Perry is such a one. Do none of the Karkana have that gift?”

“I don’t know,” Brianna says. “We’re not as close-knit as the Raiths. And I associate with very few family members.”

Madeline sniffs. “You’re lucky, then.”

“Too many Karkana in one place is not good for the mortals,” Brianna points out. “I’m sorry about your mirror.” She then gets up, goes to the restroom and washes her clothes, switching out her things. She lets Madeline take a shower and then gets ready for bed herself. She sets her alarm for 7 am.

January 6, 2013 (7:00 am)

Brianna gets up with her alarm and exercises. Soon after, Madeline rises and emerges from the bedroom. “Let’s go see what we can find out,” she says.

They head down to the car and drive out. Brianna also stays on the lookout for anyone following them—she doesn’t trust Perry. The two drive and walk all day, looking for the typical haunts that supernatural folk claim. Brianna talks to quite a few people, and finds that Madeline is no help at all in this regard. By the end of the day, Brianna has gathered a bit of information about Alissa Tanner.

Apparently, Alissa has staked out Pioneer Square as her hunting ground. Further, she has had run ins with a Special Crimes cop with the Seattle PD. That this cop is still alive speaks highly of him.

As the two return to their car, Brianna asks Madeline if she wants to go to La Porte, or give that time. She’s not sure about what Peregrine may or may not be telling Velasquez about them.

Madeline concedes that it may be smarter to wait to go to La Porte. Instead, they decide to go to Pioneer Square after sunset and try to spot Alissa. It’s a large area, being the old Seattle downtown. It’s full of boutiques, night clubs, and the like. It will be a bit like finding a needle in a haystack, but they both concede that they don’t have a lot of options right now.

January 6, 2013 (Sunset)

It’s Sunday night, but the Square is still lively with entertainment. Brianna and Madeline step into shop after shop, club after club, looking for any sign of Alissa Tanner. Finally, around 10 pm, they see a motorcycle pull up to a curb and a woman gets off. It’s Alissa.

“That’s her. That’s her bike,” Brianna says.

“Do we follow her?” Madeline asks.

“Yes.”

Alissa goes into a nearby nightclub. Madeline and Brianna follow. The club has a small dance floor and lots of loud music and lights. Alissa goes up to the bar and gets a drink. She then stalks to the dance floor, knocks a couple of girls out of the way with her hip, and starts dancing with an attractive young man.

“So that’s how she walks normally,” Brianna comments.

When the song is done, Alissa pulls the young man’s face close to hers and begins to whisper something in his ear. She then takes him by the hand and heads off the dance floor and towards the club’s back door. Brianna and Madeline follow.

Out in the alley behind the club, there’s a large dumpster. Alissa takes her prey to the other side of the dumpster.

“Have you thought about what you want to do with her?” Brianna whispers.

“We could always kidnap her,” Madeline says, musing.

“Where would we keep her?” Brianna asks.

“OH MY GOD!” they hear from behind the dumpster. Then they hear a couple of bestial snarls and snorts.

“Well, if we’re going to do something, now is the time,” Brianna observes, and moves to the other side of the dumpster. There she sees the young man lying in a pool of blood, his throat ripped out. Straddling him, feeding, is a flabby, bat-like creature with small beady eyes and stunted wing-like protuberances from its arms.

It turns and looks at Brianna. Brianna goes to punch it in the face, but misses. It attacks Brianna and the fight is on. Madeline joins in from the other side and at one point, Brianna manages to bloody the thing’s nose. Eventually, the creature collapses, unconscious.

“Did you have a plan for the kidnapping?” Brianna asks.

“No time,” Madeline mutters.

“Let’s drive the car up and put her in the trunk,” Brianna says. Madeline goes after the car while Brianna stays with the unconscious Red Court vampire. Brianna checks the young man—he is definitely dead.

Soon, Madeline brings the car into the alley and the two women lift the unconscious vampire and put it into the trunk. Brianna gets in the driver’s seat and asks, “Where are we going?”

“Out of Seattle,” Madeline says.

Brianna pulls out of the alley and starts to head out of the city.

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pencilneckgeek

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