Killbourntown

Nothing But The Blood
Costas' Embrace

Plate glass doesn’t break easy, but Costas Petrakis was always a tough guy. The last hour and a half just made him tougher. God, it was a rush. He hated to say it, but it was true, like a little growl in the back of his head telling him how to force the blood through his arms and legs and fists and Boom!, out goes that fuckin’ window and he is gone, sweetness.

He was out of that cellar and over the fence around St. Stan’s in a minute flat, wondering what to do next. Last night’s events replayed in his brain with that flickering quality that only memories and old 16mm films seem to capture. The ominous chanting of the Catholic Kindred. The gleam of the chalice, slick with his comrade’s blood (they’ll pay for that). The flare of the Molotov, screaming, a last howl of defiance and then…

Cold. But not dark.

Costas ran through the streets of South Milwaukee almost at random, pumping his arms with an eerie silence that he realized was the absence of what should be ragged breath pumping from his lungs. He was almost at the lakefront before he managed to stop and force himself to sit down on a park bench, and collect himself.

The oldest creature, the one that did this to him, had explained. A little. He spoke of Embraces and Kindred, of a society that lived in shadows. He also explained how they were God’s predators on a fallen Earth, and something about saints, but Costas mostly tuned him out at that point. The priest offered him blood, though, and Costas drank it, gladly. When morning came, he slept and had dreams that…

That I’m not gonna fucking think about right now. Get your head in the game, fool! Concentrate!

The next night, they left him alone, which was a poor choice on their part. Costas cut through the duct tape with the help of a protruding concrete sear and kicked down the door to a back cellar. Which brought us to the window which brought us to

Right now.

Right here on this bench, looking at the clouds over Lake Mich. Looking at the water where he doesn’t have a reflection any more. Looking at his hands, and were they always so drawn and wicked, were they always so pale and horrible…

After an hour of this, Costas stood. Stick to the plans. The Hole. You’ve got the Hole. Always thought it’d be the cops on his ass, but in the mean time it looks like as good a place as any to crash until he can figure this shit out. Costas started walking down Prospect Avenue, counting manholes.

Twelve… Thirteen… Fourteen… Fifteen. Gotcha.

Maybe someone saw him lift the iron disc and slip into the blackness, but maybe not. For the second time that night, Costas Petrakis disappeared.

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The Earth Rejects Thee
Niall's Embrace

Sometimes you see things that just ain’t natural. For Niall Murphy, that time was a Thursday night in March on the South side. His mind wavered between incredulity and cold certainty about what he saw that night. Black Mass? Blood rituals? No. No way in hell that actually happened (you know you saw it). Ridiculous (you saw it happen). Probably just misinterpreting (the signs) something. Best to get on with the day.

Niall made his way to work at the bookstore like any other day, reading (dark) poetry on a slow morning. Same routine that night, make his way over to Paddy’s to work the bar. Another March Madness night, too, so tips should/had better be good. On the way home, he saw a woman he thought he recognized from the night before, but he couldn’t (she looked) remember where (dark). After a few blocks, suspicion crept up his spin. Am I being followed? No, she’s probably just going home. To the same building. On the same floor (you’re being followed). To the room right next door? (definitely following you).

She tries opening the door. No dice. She mentions to no one in particular (?) that she forgot her keys; Niall, of course, notices. She asks if he minds letting her wait in his apartment until her friend gets home to let her in. She looks good, ready to go out on the town. Almost looks like the kind who hunts men like game, and is good at what she does. Long, black hair, distinguished features, unforgettable body. She starts up a conversation. She says her name’s Carmina. Nice name, goes well with that coal-black hair. She starts asking about Niall’s past, where he came from, how he got here, what he’s doing in these parts, is he religious, and other things. Darker things. She asks him how he could have abandoned his friend like that. Just run away while Costas was murdered. He wants to interject and defend himself, but he knows she’s right. All doubt disappears. Last night was real. Very real.

(and you ran to leave Costas to his fate, likely worse than death)

Oh God.

It was at this point that she left, and Niall felt more miserable than many times in recent memory. Alone (you let him die how could you). Low. He felt himself open his wrists in the bathtub and all was black.

But all was not quiet.

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Unites the Kindred Race
In Which Costas Takes a Walk

Kindred get used to moonlight, after a while. It’s something that human beings always have held in a certain reverence; they say that in India women can “taste the moon” in something that was cooked outdoors under the moonglow. But for Kindred, to remark on the beauty of the moon over Lake Michigan would be a little, well, peculiar. Especially for the pragmatic Carthians. But ah, there it was.

Costas Petrakis strolled in that moonlight, and since beauty begets beauty (of a sort), he was softly singing to himself. It was out of key, but tuneful enough.

The In-ter-na-tion-a-leeee, you-niiites the Kindred race…

He made it to the Art Museum and took a seat on a bench to think things over. How long, now, since that night in St. Stan’s? A few months? Five or six, anyway. And now two new punks on the scene…

“The ‘stallis kid was… well, okay, there’s no two ways about it. He’s fucked up. He just took to the whole “feed on people” thing a little too easily, come to think about it. He just jumped on that guy I dropped. But he’s angry, and anger gets you far. He’s not felt the Beast in him proper, not yet, but there’s time for that. Diamonds in the rough. Or Semtex, anyway.

That other motherfucker, though… Jesus Christ! What the flying, pig-fuck was Georgia thinking?! You’d be hard-put to find a better example of the idle rich, dumb-as-fuck bourgeoisie and we let him into the fucking Movement? And his dad is a Goddamn senator! This is trouble, man, this is bad news. He’s too fucking dumb to figure out yet what being one of the Damned really means but when he does… shit! Fuck! He’ll go run to his dad to fix it, and then we’re all proper fucked.”

Costas clenched his hands on the bench railings. They left fingermarks in the metal… But it calmed him down. If he still breathed, he’d be breathing normally again.

“Okay. Okay. Maybe the kid’s got his uses. Maybe Alain’s right and his money is what we need to get things rolling properly. And if daddy sends his fucking running dogs around, well, we all know what happens to dogs that get sent after wolves. That’s what I’m around for, I guess. Resident wolf. Well, heh, resident wolf and bomb-maker.”

Costas’ anger had subsided for the moment. “We’ll see how things play out”, he told himself. He walked towards Prospect and “home”, leaving nothing behind but the slightly damaged bench and the last few strains of “The Internationale”, both soon swallowed up by the dark.

And the moon remained.

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Re: Forces Are Gathering
Je suis le prophète du délabrement et le pionnier du chaos, car rien ne peut naître que du chaos.
Re: Forces Are Gathering
from: alain@carthmke.com
to: cecilia@carthmke.com

C

G and I are making progress. The new equipment should be making its way to the drop point shortly, thanks to the new recruit. I've sent them over to the neighbors, haring after old ghosts, as you'll be glad to hear. The trail is cold, but perhaps Sam has better intel. No offense.

In the meantime, can you look up more history on the psychopath? I'm wondering if there wasn't something we missed. He's a loose cannon and I want to know why. Luckily the Greek is keeping him in check, otherwise I'd have to spend all my time babysitting. Beginning to think our choices were made ... impulsively. Reply with intel. Encrypted, as per usual.

It is a subterranean fire, they cannot put it out.

A
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Minutes and Seconds
From the Journal of Costas Petrakis

(Written in Danish, in cipher)

August 2010:

Returned from meeting with compatriots; course of action decided. Cell leader seconded my motion for the continuance of an “alliance” with the easterners. I admit that I’m frustrated by both internal and external pressures on this situation; this object is sparking passions that are inherently more destructive than constructive. Make no mistake; losses and violence precede revolution. Omelets and eggs. But cannot accept ‘mind control’, if that is what this is. Antithetical to anarchist doctrine, such as it is.

Nevertheless, our enemy to the south is far more dangerous than the misguided (and unstable) ones to the east. They are a problem to be dealt with through negotiation and reasoned action. Their continued pursuit of “feeding territories” is especially grating. Reminds me a little too much of company bosses handing out the food supply. Perhaps it’s time to take some individual strike action, to demonstrate to that bitch over at the Nomad just how tenuous and idiotic her ideas of possession are. Property is dictated by need and labor, not some arbitary claim. Feudalism has been gone for a few years, maybe she hasn’t noticed.

Yet my concerns are not entirely external. If given the opportunity, I see our leadership in the Movement being tempted by the device. Our enforcer in particular worries me. She is unpredictable. Dangerous. Fanatical. Racist. Her devotion to the cause outweighs her conscience, and this is trouble waiting to happen. Worried.

My immediate companions worry me less. ‘Stallis trash is twisted, no question, but he’s essentially a nihilist. The manipulation of political power doesn’t interest him. A similar apathy reduces the threat from the frat boy, albeit with a different source. And the Celt and I are largely of one mind. Perhaps the communist model, whereby each cell is limited to at most four members, is best. Less chance for betrayal. Maintenance of purpose. Orthodoxy at once enforced and criticized. Close to ideal.

Soon we will take our proposal to the Juneau folks. Here’s hoping they fall for the ruse. I wouldn’t want to get on Bell’s bad side.

Well, not like that, anyway.

Hellas in Danemark, August 2010

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