Blunt the Knives, Bend the Forks

First Draft 
#1


First Draft with its two story of books and a bar, of wood that creaked under foot and the occasional uproarious laughter that echoed down the halls in fits had a certain charm to it. It had her eye, a place she’d found herself drawn to since that first time ever wandering the halls. So when it came down to look for places to potentially gear towards owning as a home fort of some sort, this was first on the list of potential starting points.

There seemed to be some sort of live music event occurring tonight and it was perfect enough time to figure out what kinds of crowds the place drew. If this was what was to be chosen, it would be best to know all she could and tonight seemed like the best time to kick off that effort. And so, Catrina found herself among the crowd of said night with a pleasant enough smile on her face as it stormed heavily outside, windows pattering with rain that added to the ambience. The drink in hand smelled greatly of hops and raspberries, something she’d happily poured some off into other’s of similar darkness occasionally when none were the wiser until it was halfway full as she made her way about.

The music was lively, but still calmer than what she’d been to prior last week. The mood outside would occasionally pour in when the door opened and let in the cold wet draft, but despite this everyone as a whole seemed lively, listening, or carrying on with their own tasks and conversations. It made it easy enough to chit chat with the bartender and a few patrons, albeit she did have to raise her voice and lean in.

On her way to head more towards the book area, there was a flash of light as she just past the bar that lit up all the windows before a hungry roiling growl of thunder shook the building at the same time the power snapped off and plunged all into darkness. The only lights flickering were that of the few candles dotting tables and alighting faces as surprise washed through the crowd and quiet encased them as the band stopped. Well this was a bit of a pickle and she began to make her way from to a wall or chair, just to get out of the way of anyone that had no wits about them with just a simple change in lighting.

There was a weight that pulled back on her foot, fully disclosing something had snagged at her foot in some way and Catrina looked behind with a questioning hum, minorly stumbling, wondering if she might’ve tripped someone with worse luck than she.
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#2


 A student had recommended this place, part bar, part bookstore. While she didn't drink alcohol, she did read a lot of books. With the sky encased in full darkness, Mary made her way leisurely down the sidewalk. She could vaguely hear the music a few doors down over the rain thundering off her umbrella. The air smelled divine, so alive with energy and growing spring life. She loved storms, always had, likely always would. As she reached the store front, she closed her umbrella, shaking it outside quickly as she stood in the door. The closed umbrella went into the basket, along with many others, and the door closed silently (compared to the noise around her) behind her.

 The crowd was lively, full of people from all walks of life, and ages. She saw students, a professor in the corner in some sort of debate, a familiar face from a coffee shop by the bar, and countless others. Deciding to skip the discomfort of fake drinking beer, she moved her way towards the books. The smell that was sleeping under the overwhelming stench of beer in the air was a comforting, familiar scent of paper, ink, and dust. Lovely. As she moved through the cramped isles, she became lost in reading titles in the dim lighting, not paying much attention to the world outside of the books.

 A bright flash of light, rolling thunder, and darkness. She blinked, letting her eyes adjust for the very short time they required, as she stepped back, hoping to catch sight of someone in charge who may have access to more candles or a generator- she didn't come all this way to be chased out by a silly storm!

 As she stepped backwards, she felt her heel catch on something, immediately turning to apologize, "I'm so sorry miss, the darkness has me a bit... disheveled." She didn't want to admit that she'd been completely ignorant of her surroundings, being lost in her mission for a good read.
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#3
Catrina was immediately met with an apology and the inescapable presence of another vampire. Disheveled was certainly an answer for it, but there was a ruckus going on in the place which left much up in the air and she herself had missed the signs that the woman had even been here till now.

Giving a genuine smile over, a hand coming out to pat her skirt in place, Catrina’s other one came out in a wave, brushing off the apology. ”All’s fine, deary.” This time she was more careful while stepping a bit to the side of the immediate thoroughfare just in case another unfortunate foot found her own. ”I didn’t hurt you did, I? Everyone’s losing their heads with the lights out and I didn’t see you at all.” A curious gaze was given over.
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#4
 It was when she turned to apologize that she realized who, or rather what shed walked into. A vampire, and not just any vampire, a stronger one. Florian may have the grey hair and wrinkles, but this woman either was older than her, or just simply naturally talented in her undead ways. Her apology had weight, not just for stepping on the woman's foot, but also for simply being in the way. Who said the old gal didn't have survival instincts?

 "Not in the least, I hope I didn't cause any damage to your shoe, or lovely skirt." Mary didn't much care for being called deary, but she'd let it slide, there was enough shit going on right now.

 Someone hurried past them, looking for an exit or light- silly humans, afraid of a little dark. Mary made sure she hugged the shelves in hopes of not getting shoved. "A little darkness and they all go crazy... And here, all I wanted was to see what kind of novels this place had," the disappointment was evident in her voice.
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#5
Good, good, no one was hurt upon this chance encounter, nor any of the clothing mentioned. ”Hmm, no, they’re just fine.” Her hand fell away from the skirt with a grin. As someone quickly went past, she watched with some amusement.

”That they do,” Catrina agreed. At least the both of them could see fairly well in the lowlight, not hindered by human eyes.

The fact that the woman had been off to the same place to find a book had her wandering what exactly she was seeking from the stocks. A novel generally was fantasy of some sort and so, what kind of stories did she seek to throw herself into? ”Aye, I was about to do the same, it's the perfect night to do so. They’ve quite a selection from what I’ve seen on other visits.”

There was some business behind the counters as staff got out flashlights and candles. The main area was sure to have plenty of the tealights and so she’d stay back. No use living all this time to simply become ash over a spilled flame. ”How about I get us lights and we can make our way back and away from all the nonsense?” Not waiting for an answer for more than a beat, she went off to the bar and took two of the flashlights set aside. In hand, she made her way back and would offer one to the other vampire.
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#6
 The woman's Scottish lit was hard to miss in her voice, the little hints at a life far from here charming in their own way. Mary had visited Scotland, but never had the opportunity to stay for long, now that her life was... well, now that she didn't have a biological clock ticking, she guessed some years across the pond may not be a bad idea. After all, the people at the college who didn't know she was a Vampire may start wondering when she would start turning into a decrepit old toad and retire. She'd have to move when that happened. Or, come out of the coffin for real.

 "Rainy days always many me want to curl up with a good book in a dark room, but I've run out of books to read at home, so here I am." Mary nearly hugged the shelves as more humans scurried by, afraid of the looming darkness. Silly. The dark didn't bite. and fortunately enough she wasn't hungry enough to bite either.

 The other vampire offered to get them some lights- hopefully not the flammable type, she didn't know how old her companion was, but she was likely just as flammable as Mary was. She disappeared, Mary's eyes following her careful, graceful movements in the dark to snag some free flashlights. Glorious. Mary took the offered torch and turned it on, making sure not to blind either of them.

 "How familiar are you with this place?" She started moving further back into the store, away from the humans, huddling in the dim illumination of the candle lit storefront.
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#7
Flashlight taken, Catrina turned her own on and walked with the other woman as they began their way to the back where books took over as the highlight. Shadows played upon the approaching shelves and she found herself increasingly destressing from being away from the more flammable consequences up front.

The question had her humming a tad. ”It’s been a favorite corner of mine to turn to for a few months now.” And it helped that her friend lived so close by, making for it an easy to stop in even more so. ”It’s got a charm I’m not used to, so I fully take advantage of it whenever possible.” And hopefully Catrina would own it at some point, a fanciful thought she allowed herself to partake in.
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#8
 She smiled at the woman's words, nodding as she looked over the various bindings on the shelf. "It is rather charming, isn't it..." It was a statement, rather than a question. "I'm actually a librarian at the college in Magic Hollow, just wanted a change of pace so I made the journey." she answered without a question being posed. Mary wasn't the type of person who was afraid of conversation, though she'd be lying if the woman didn't make her nervous. She didn't get to hang around many vampires, especially not strong ones.

 "I'm actually looking for some obscure novels, not too picky about genre, just something off the beaten track, you know?" Mary's finger traced over author names, familiar with most of what she saw. "I like trying new things- well new to me at least."
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#9
A smile drew onto her features at that. To have it validated that it was charming to another was nice. The more personal tangent to the other’s job had Catrina looking towards her, interested. A librarian vampire of all things working so close to her home. It helped build a better picture of the woman before her: educated, knowledgeable, a woman with a drive, and nice company so far.

”Trying new things keeps life interesting so I understand that perfectly.” It was the only thing that kept her entertained day to day. There was always something new to pursue somewhere somehow.

Closer to a shelf, her gaze flitted to the section’s letters, understanding the want for a new read, something she found herself in many a time. “I’m sure they have something here that fits your search. And if they don’t, maybe it’s worth a request so your visiting isn’t wasted next time.” What with her occupation and all, if anything the woman was more familiar with the titles and summaries more so than her no doubt, so it would be curious to see what she eventually pulled. ”I’m on the same search I guess. Perhaps a newly published author might be worth a shot for us.”

Stopping, she raised a hand to pull out a particular red bound book, drawing it out, the title catching her interest. ”By the way, may I ask your name?” Catrina looked over towards where the woman was. ”It’s not everyday I run into a soul like yourself.”
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#10
 Her fingers traced over the spines lazily feeling the delicate, and well loved literature under her fingertips. She paused on a title, Boarder, by Kapka Kassabova. She'd heard of the author before, but had never read anything from her. Mary pulled the literature from the shelf and held it against her chest. She'd take this one, but for now, enjoy the somewhat intimidating, yet lovely company.

 "I've been on a bit of a kick for foreign writers actually, especially modern. I've never really traveled outside of America and want to get a picture of what its like in the eyes of someone who is from there; you know, before I go." She tapped the book against her chest, and smiled. "But I am all for leaving here with a stack, rather than just one. Is there an up and coming authors section we could check out?"

 "Oh, how rude of me. I'm so used to wearing a name tag!" She extended her hand, juggling the flashlight and book on one side. "Mary Owens, easy name." She nearly laughed at the soul bit; Mary hadn't yet decided if being a Vampire had extinguished her soul, or at least damned it. A philosophy she struggled to comprehend. "Yours?"
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#11
Foreign writers pulled to mind a variety titles she could offer up, noting already a book in the woman’s grasp. Quite a chatter box once they got talking about books and Catrina listened attentively with a smile, enjoying the passion being displayed here.

The comment about a name tag had her giggling a tad, nodding to the name supplied. ”No problem at all, it’s lovely to meet you Mary. Catrina Stewart.” Might as well supply a last name if she had as well.

Catrina waggled the book in her hold a tad, pointing off to the right. ”As to answer your question, I’m sure they do a bit further in, foreign writers and new ones as well. I’m personally holding onto hope they might have local ones in the bunch for the same reason as you wanting to go abroad. It’d be wonderful to see what sort of fanciful stories people take on by living in this exciting city that’s still pretty new to me. Though, the whole country is to some degree to be quite honest.”

Of course she read the newspapers and local journals, but it wasn’t the same as someone molding the world into their own vision, something she always found interesting and took personal inspiration from.
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#12
 It was really nice to meet someone that not only had similar interests, but also was a vampire. She didn't really know any too well, and hadn't made an effort to throw herself into the supernatural community. Perhaps she ought to, provided they weren't homicidal maniacs who could potentially ruin her attempts at living a normal life. Prejudiced? Her? Okay a bit. She wanted desperately to be seen as a person before being seen as a vampire, yet she had a hard time looking at other vampires the same way. This was a good start, meeting this woman. She was very much a person.

 "Worth looking in to then!" She moved along the path pointed out to her, towards the books in question. Most of the humans were huddled in the front, or had left at this point, so the area they were in was empty and quiet save for the chatter moving in from the storefront. "I hope you don't mind me asking; and feel free to defer, or simply not answer... I haven't really met many of us. Partially out of fear I'm sad to say, but you seem alright. Do you know many?"
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#13
As Mary went about to the direction she’d pointed, Catrina followed and then went to a new shelf, finger brushing over the titles a tad. She paused at the question, smiling some to the books. Her not meeting many vampires and asking Catrina of all things had her attention.

Taking out a book, her eyes went over the pastel sunset painting, the bright yellow letters announcing the title to be Inland. ”Well thank you, I think,” she laughed a tad amused to the sum of her being ‘alright’. Turning the book over to read the back, Catrina looked towards Mary, pausing on doing that just yet. It was far more important to answer the question thrown at her. ”I know of a few here, and have to say, you’re smart to be careful. Some might want to throw their weight around unfairly. Thus is the life of a rogue,” she sighed wistfully, setting the book upon the other one in her hand.
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#14
 She realized after saying it that her words may have come across as insensitive. "Sorry, yes, I meant well by the comment- I simply meant you don't appear to be an egomaniac looking to suck the human population dry. You appear nice. Am I just digging a bigger hole?" Her rambling was paired with an awkward chuckle. She wasn't good at this at all. Stick to the library, lady.

 "There is a part of me that want's to find companionship in a group, but the rest of me is afraid it will only bring out the more dastardly parts of being what we are. Perhaps by surrounding ourselves with the normal beings we can maintain that bit of humanity some hold dear?" Mary shrugged, looking over the titles and the cover images. Every so often she'd glance up at her company to gauge reaction.
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#15
Oh goodness, it was amusing to watch Mary fumble around an apology not necessarily needed. She let out a bit of a laugh at the question, giving a genuine smile. ”Yes, you’re fine, no offense taken.”

Leaning against the shelf a tad, Catrina listened to the woes of a similar being. It was a fascinating take on it and she imaged the approach would be like that of a small bird so easily spooked to flying away. Caution would have to be used here. Trying to imagine worrying about her humanity when it was gone for them both just spoke to her newness to it all she supposed. ”I know that feeling all too well, but experience has taught me it is considerably easier to retain what visages of humanity we still have when we have support in others in the same likeness. Its a good pathway to becoming stronger and handling the more, monstrous side of ourselves.”

Turning back to the shelf, she stooped down some to pull out a book and read the back.
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#16
 Mary was attentive as the woman spoke, her experience decades if not centuries beyond her own. It was an odd feeling, seeing someone so much younger, be, in reality, so much older. What a life this woman must have lived. "Have you... Have you spent much time in groups? Why decide to go rogue?" Quickly she covered her mouth, embarrassment on her face. "Apologies again, I have little control over my curiosity." Thankfully her control was better with things of more importance.

 She was too enthralled with this woman to go back to browsing books, the tome held to her chest would be enough for now, unless there was a break or end to conversation.
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#17
Settling the bound thing in her grasp, she stood up as Mary seemed to have more questions to ask that would need details far more than a few words. ”I have and there’s no need to apologize. I have baskets full of curiosity myself.”

Catrina, walked up to her a few steps. ”Perhaps, this would be easier if we sat down? Better than whispering across shelves like children.” She motioned towards a table up against a window where the storm could be seen still spattering the glass, before making the way over there, regardless if Mary wanted to follow or not.
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#18
 Mary smiled, happy that her company was willing to put up with her badgering questions about things she, honestly, ought to already know about. with a nod, she followed suit, joining the redhead at the table. Mary put the books on the surface, out of the way as to not accidentally have them topple to the floor.

 She adjusted herself in the seat, pulling it in to the table to sit as she always did. Knees crossed, back mostly straight, facing forward and attentive. Comfortable, yet not rigid. With a smile, she awaited the woman to continue where the conversation had fallen off, for she craved answers to her many questions.
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#19
Setting down her books, she slid them towards the wall, folding her hands on top of the table’s surface. Mary had followed and she offered a smile. When she was comfortable and Catrina had leaned back to look and make sure no one was close to pry, it was time to further answer.

”To answer your question better, I’ve been in two. The first dissolved.” She leaned back some in the seat, the wood creaking in the shift in weight. ”The last one I left because the leader and I didn’t see eye to eye. There were too many decisions hurting the members. I challenged them and, unfortunately, lost.” Catrina shrugged some. What could you do? ”From there, I needed a break. However, I don’t wish to be a rogue forever.”
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