Blood Work
reason.
    I didn’t want
to admit it. I mean, what did it mean if it were true? I had some
measure of control over Mercy because of the blood I fed her.
Because of the choker chain I kept around her neck. Not because I
was her version of the ultimate vampire.
    Which brought
me crashing head long into Aurum’s parting question.
    What flavour
was Mercy?
    Whenever you
get in the way of a psychic compulsion from a vampire, if you’re
sensitive to such things, you get to touch their… well, I guess it
would be their aura. Now, I’m getting way clued into to this
psychic deal, but I don’t go around seeing auras and whatnot. I’m
not about to do a laying-on of hands and heal the whole
congregation. But aura is the word that best suits the whole
shebang. So, you touch the aura and I don’t know how it is with
other folks, but my brain relays the sensation to me as a
flavour.
    Some are a
hot, spicy cabernet sauvignon. Some are the smooth, rich earthiness
of honey. Some are tangy enough to make me pull a face. Some are
like saltwater. But in all fairness to my dignity, I’m not about to
go around referring to vampires as a bunch of condiments. So you
call them the reds, the yellows, the oranges and the blues. Kudos
to me for picking names the rest of the world uses as well.
    Mercy’s
flavour? Well, she didn’t have one. Not that I could detect,
anyway. She was just… Mercy. Maybe I was too close to her.
    The flavour
doesn’t develop as soon as a person is turned. It takes a while.
Same with the psychic skills. I guess it’s like the probationary
period or something. Got to learn the ropes, be shown where the
coffee machine is and swear to uphold the clan honour on a stack of
Devil’s Dictionaries or something.
    At least, that
was my take on it. Aurum’s revelations added a different view.
    I suppose it
made sense that all members of a clan are linked together
psychically. Links between parent and child, all the way back to
the top of the pecking order. A demonic pyramid selling scheme.
    I gathered up
my stuff, made sure nothing remained that would give away my
midnight presence, and left.
    I couldn’t get
the image out of my head. A great, sweeping pyramid of vampires,
and perched at the very peak, a shadowy shape growing bigger and
bigger with each poor soul added to the ever widening base. And
there beside it, was me ridding piggy back on Mercy, waving a tiny
flag and tinier sword. Multiply the big pyramid by six—Reds, Blues,
Greens, Yellows, Oranges and let’s not forget the late comers, the
Violets—and that’s just not fair to the poor guy in the middle.
    Subterfuge was
pretty far from my mind as I left the hospital. Everything was
pretty much far from my mind except a gut numbing, scared
shitlessness. It was okay when it was just me and Mercy going up
against a couple of vampires. Hell, we’d redecorated Surf Wars with
a dozen of them. As they say, ignorance is bliss. They also say
ignorance is evil, but I was going to ignore that in a stunning
contortion of logic.
    Jogging back
to my car I decided the next time I tried to be inconspicuous I
would beat myself about the head and just damn well park under a
spotlight. What sort of maniac goes around asking for trouble like
this?
    Cab sav
flooded my mouth.
    “The sort we
like.”
    I staggered to
a stop. Again, pretty dumb thing to do, but it’s hard to think of
alternatives when the night around you suddenly comes alive with
vampires.
    They emerged
from dark shadows and dropped from trees with nary a noise from any
of them. Well, no. They were Reds and in order to be a good little
Red, you had to think that long black coats were a mandatory
fashion requirement. And the bastards knew how to make it work
too.
    I have a black
Drizabone, one that reaches my ankles. Looks way swish, especially
when you stride about all important like and it flares out behind
you like some over produced Western scene. But the blasted thing is
too hot. And I never did work out how

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