I was walking with a ghost

outfit minus backpack

Sayed enjoyed the city of Cordova. It still wasn't as good as Chicago, but it was comforting in that sort of big city way. He didn't have to worry so much about any sort of problems he might encounter and there was generally something to do, even during the night. For now, the vampire was content in wandering around different parts of the city during his multiple visits during the week. There were a few closed shops along the street he was on, but he paused as he saw a paranormal bookshop.

He chuckled at it and with a small shrug, decided to go inside. If this had been a few years prior, he would've scoffed at it and mumbled about the paranormal not being real, but who knew anymore? He was a vampire. Shifters were real. And there were humans who had some of the powers vampires seemed to get, but who weren't vampires. It'd be a good way to kill time anyway.

The night was dark and full of -- well, a lot of things, presumably, but customers weren't amongst them. Kat sighed as she leaned on the butt of her wrist, nearly dozing off behind the counter of her empty establishment. The idea of a late-night paranormal bookshop had sounded wonderful in theory, she thought to herself -- but in practice, it made for some lonely nights.

Soon, though, her salvation arrived; a man passed over the threshold of the establishment just a scant moment before she had given up hope on another utterly actionless night. "Ah! Welcome, welcome," she chimed as she gave the man a little wave from her place behind the desk. "You're a lucky man. You're the only one here so you've got run of the place. Let me know if you need anything, yeah?"

As soon as he entered, he could smell her. He paused momentarily and wondered if he should leave. She was a psychic. Had that blood that made vampires go a little crazy. And he was a little on the peckish side. He shook his head and smiled at her. "Thanks," he said gently. He tried to forget about the smell of psychic for now- he had wanted to peruse the actual shop and see what sort of books they had.

"Seems kind of odd running a paranormal bookstore," he said after a moment, focusing back on the woman. "Have you had many encounters?"

The woman chuckled. "Yes, well, I'm fond of the 'kind of odd'," she said with a shrug of slender shoulders. "As for encounters -- I'd like to think so, though no one has come out and said it while they were here. It's understandable, though." She gestured vaguely towards the street corner beyond the storefront. "It's dangerous out there -- for paranormal folk and mundane folk alike. Makes sense that people would prefer to play things close to the chest."

Her eyes flared pink. The ghast in the broiler was acting up again. She grumbled inwardly and shooed it away with an angry glance. "Anywho," she said, taking a moment to tap the little tri-fold sign on the front of the counter. Paranormal Safe Place, it read. "We welcome all sorts. This is a place of communion and understanding. At the very least, most people who have come by this place have understood that."

Sayed listened thoughtfully and nodded as the woman spoke. He still let his eyes sweep over the store, glancing at book titles until he heard the tapping sound and looked back towards the clerk, and then down at the sign she was pointing to. Deciding that conversation would be interesting, he made his way closer to her, trying to ignore her scent.

She seemed to have misunderstood his question, which was fair since he hadn't exactly explained what he meant and rather leapt from "this is an odd place" to "have you had encounters"- of course she probably thought he meant customers. He gave her a smile as he stopped in front of the counter. "And what about yourself? Have you had any experiences with the paranormal?" He always had loved a ghost story.

Kat flashed the man a wry smile. "Oh, a girl never kisses and tells," she joked, leaning forwards a bit onto her elbows. In truth, she wasn't at liberty to give too much information; for all she knew, this guy was a vampire hunter or some such nonsense. She didn't want to get William into trouble after the (mostly) lovely night she had. Self-consciously, though, a hand moved to her neck -- gently massaging the bruise that he had left there.

"In all honesty, though, I couldn't say. I wouldn't want to betray any confidences, you know?" She offered him a kind, but firm smile. Yes, but I don't want to say more. The message was (at least as far as she was concerned) clear. "Still, I admit -- it has been downright boring around here the past few days. Alas!"

His eyebrows rose as she spoke. Her answer was curious. He wasn't necessarily the most up to date person, but he knew about all the ghost hunting shows on television. He knew people who told him their own experiences. The fact that she didn't want to tell when everyone else seemed to clamor for attention when it came to their own experiences was interesting. He wondered if her psychic ability had something to do with the paranormal.

A slight chill went up his spine at the thought. He didn't necessarily believe in ghosts, but if he was looking at someone who could do something with them, well, that was rather eye-opening. And someone who cared enough to own a paranormal bookstore had to have their own experiences anyway, it seemed. The woman was very interesting.

And then she mentioned that it had been boring in the store. "Oh really?" he asked, interest piqued again. He was still hungry after all, and maybe a taste of psychic could be fun. "Haven't had many customers?"

The man seemed skeptical. She didn't mind that, though -- a healthy dose of skepticism was a good thing so long as it didn't drown out one's wonder for the world. Still, most people who came through the bookshop's doors didn't have that problem; the sorts of things kept here tended to attract a very particular clientele. So, too, with this man, it seemed.

"Nah, it's been a slow couple of days," she said with a shrug. "It happens, though. Business tends to pick up around weekends and holidays, and at the moment we have neither. Tomorrow, though? I have high hopes for tomorrow night." She smiled. "Until then, though, I suppose I have the run of the place!"

The ghast in the broiler shrieked; apparently he didn't take kindly to being excluded from his share of the run of the place. Kat really wished he would move on or fuck off.

So he had picked a good night to come in if he wanted a meal. And the thought of it had him ready to feed. He looked at her with a smile, trying to catch her eyes. His own, the green that they had been, had started to shift to amber. Sayed didn't know if she would realize he was changing a bit, so he hoped his power of suggestion would work this time.

He gave her a wide smile, knowing his fangs wouldn't be too noticeable just yet. He caught her eyes and decided to try the flirty route. "Well, since it's so empty out here, you should close up shop and go somewhere quieter with me." To his astonishment, it actually seemed to work, which thank god, because if it hadn't and he'd been rejected, it would've been massively humiliating.


Kat find herself feeling rather agreeable, caught up in the moment as she was (though she had a little bit of help via a pair of enchanting vampiric eyes, little did she know). "Well! I don't see why not," she laughed, plucking a key from beneath the lip of the countertop. She twirled the keyring around her index finger, winking to Sayed as she set about the ever exciting task of locking up for the night.

"We could always stay in, too," she added as she stashed a few unused mugs in the cafe portion of the bookshop. "I make a mean whiskey sour, and it would be plenty quiet here. Though I admit, I don't know what your intentions are for the night -- perhaps somewhere else is better." In truth, Kat wasn't sure at all why she had agreed to go with this strange man. It was, by all accounts, a terrible idea. But here she was, ready to ship off to the ends of the earth for the stranger with the dark hair.

At least the ghast had shut up for now. Her eyes had gone dark, distracted by the relative confusion that came with a spur-of-the-moment almost-certainly-bad decision.

It was always weird to see suggestions work out, and Sayed felt a little bad about it. But his hunger was driving his thoughts and actions. He watched as the woman locked up and looked at the cafe section as she mentioned staying in. "Hm, that sounds good," he murmured about the whiskey sour. And if he were human, it would've been true. Still, he needed her to be away from the windows. "Do you have a back room? That would be better."

He ignored the question about his intentions, since what he had in mind was likely not what she was thinking about.

Kat grinned and nodded, gesturing towards an oaken door inlaid between a pair of book shelves at the far end of the establishment. "I have just the place," she said with a smile. Satisfied that what needed cleaning the most was taken care of, the woman moved from the cafe and towards the door. She pushed it open and entered inside, gesturing towards Sayed for him to follow.

When he crossed the threshold, he would find himself within a peculiar sort of room.It had no windows, and was illuminated exclusively by a cadre of candles placed upon tall, luminous sticks placed at the four corners of the rhomboid room. They flickered with long-burning flames, and white and purple wax dripped down each side. The room smelled clean and fresh and almost wild -- contributed largely to the philodendron vines that lazily climbed the trellises stationed on either parallel wall.

There were only two pieces of furniture to note in the room. The first, a large chest of drawers drawn in dark brown, carefully finished oak. Each drawer was carefully labeled with some spell component or the other, and the surface was dressed with an elegant altar of lilies and roses arranged around a beautiful silver goblet which sat behind a ruby-handled athame. A long, rectangular table draped in white cloth with royal purple trimming. At its center, a single black-backed deck of cards sat horizontal to the table's front.

"Welcome to where the magic happens," she said with a grin. "This is where I do my readings for customers who are looking for that sort of thing. It's largely a mental exercise, more than anything else -- or so I tell the more squeamish folks. But then, people these days are rather afraid that they might come across an actual witch."

She peered at Sayed as he entered; her eyes glowed a vibrant pink, though it would have been difficult to discern for anyone without low-light vision. This time, her actions were intentional -- she opened her mind, reaching out towards her companion in some attempt to glean his mental state. "So, sir -- what is it you were after tonight? I hope I can be of some assistance."

Telepathy engaged!

Sayed had seen a lot of odd things during his time as a vampire, but walking into the woman's witch lair, or whatever this was, was new. He eyed the candles wearily from the doorway, unsure if he should really keep trying if this was "the backroom". He'd never seen a vampire catch on fire, but it was his understanding that they all went up pretty quick unless they were really strong.

He'd have to be careful- especially with a psychic- in how he handled things from now on. He looked back to the woman as she spoke, giving her a small smile until she asked him what he was there for. The smile didn't drop from his face, but it did dim a bit. "Well, I thought we could have some fun," he said quietly, though there was no doubt that their ideas of fun were two entirely different things, since he was thinking more about feeding.

He let his smile twist up into a smirk. "Since you're off the clock now."

That was not the mindscape that Katherine had been expecting. Her eyes, still shining pink, widened with surprise as she stared at Sayed.

He was a vampire.

Or at least, that was the conclusion she had reached; the idea of feeding upon the unsuspecting shopkeeper, which had been ever so present at the forefront of his mind, was fairly incontrovertible as far as evidence to such a fact went. This was a very different dynamic than the one she had developed with William; then, she had been excited. Now, though, she was simply afraid.

She gulped, hard. "Well, this is quite unexpected," she said quietly. "You know, if you had wanted a drink it would have been far more polite to simply ask. This false pretense is rather -- intimidating." She crossed her arms, moving to position herself so that her table was between her and Sayed.

"I've offered my blood to a vampire once before. On that occasion, it was an equitable and pleasant exchange. Is there perhaps a way we can make this one into something simiilar?" Her voice remained largely steady -- but there was a telltale quaver to it that betrayed her nerves. Her eyes remained painted with radioactive hot pink as spirits creeped into the room from beyond the veil, lingering and mocking at the corners of her vision.

Whatever Sayed had been expecting, the words that fell from the woman's mouth next were definitely something unexpected. He wasn't sure what exactly she was getting at with the drink- he'd said he wanted a drink before. He was about to write her off as crazy when she mentioned offering her blood to a vampire before.

His eyes widened for a second and he was to his feet in a second, putting a chair inbetween himself, the desk, and the woman. He still listened to her words, concerned that she might knock over the candles on him, but gave pause when she asked if they could work out some other sort of deal. He watched her carefully and thought about running out of the door.

But he was hungry, and if she was offering...

"We don't usually go around telling people what we are," he finally said. He could hear the quiver in her voice, so at least she was scared of him while he was scared of her. "I don't try to ever hurt anyone," he tacked on, thinking that maybe her ability was in mind-reading. He was sure he'd heard of that before at least.

Kat breathed a sigh of relief. That was good, at least; he seemed amicable to a more mutual agreement. "Ah! Well, that's good news, then," she said, visibly relaxing -- though a certain tension still remained. How could it not? This man had invited himself in on the pretense of making her a meal, and unlike the last time it had happened she had been forced to discover the motive herself.

Katherine placed her hands upon the edge of the table, using it as a steadying influence to take a few deep breaths. "Right. Well, if you promise not to bite my head off or leave me in dire need of a transfusion, you're welcome to drink your fill." To say the least, the mood was somewhat ruined; her eyes flared pink as she requested some of those tormenting spirits to at least make themselves useful. The candles extinguished themselves, and a hidden fluorescent light was illuminated in the ceiling courtesy of a switch embedded in the wall.

With a hand, she beckoned the man towards her, turning so that the non-bruised side of her neck faced him. "Do take care, yes? I really don't feel like sporting two vampire hickies." She paused, and then: "...Also -- my name is Kat. May I have something to call you by, or is this to be an anonymous moment of intimacy?"

As the candles were extinguished and the light turned on, Sayed was sure she was a mind reader. And pretty safe. He, too, started to relax a little more. At the request, he gave a smile. "I promise to do my best." Despite the light-heartedness, it was a real promise. He never knew what might happen- especially since she was a psychic and he'd never had psychic blood before.

She tilted her neck for him and he moved closer to her, fangs already grown due to the promise of blood. His hand gently touched her chin to guide her neck to a straighter position so he could look at the other bite. "I'm Sayed," he said, practically murmuring against her ear as he inspected the other bite she had, not that he could tell who it was or anything. "Who bit you last? And when did it happen?" he asked, voice a little garbled as he tried to talk around his fangs. He could feel himself growing impatient, but if she was being kind by letting him drink, then he wanted to be kind back and make sure everything would be okay for her- especially if the other vampire had recently fed from her.

"His name was William," she responded simply. She closed her eyes -- both as a means of avoiding the glinting fangs in the man's mouth and as a faulty attempt to shut out the voices of the spirits in the room."He was -- honestly, a real charmer. Salt and pepper hair, brown eyes. And -- oh! He helps run the planetarium up in Magic Hollow." She smiled as she thought of him; compared to the tense uncertainty of this encounter, her time spent with William seemed in retrospect tantamount to the most romantic evening of her life.

Quietly, she chided herself; Be careful, Kat. To this one, you may as well be prey. You're just lucky he was amenable to a deal.

She took several deep breaths, hands placed flat on the table as she attempted to center herself. Still, her heart pounded in her chest. This felt wrong -- or at least, unsafe. "...Ready when you are, I suppose," she breathed quietly.

Maybe she would call William when all of this was said and done. Ask him how she should have handled this. Not that he expected him to give her much help in spotting out his own kind.

Sayed didn't look her in the eyes as she described this vampire William. Honestly, the vampire sounded incredibly familiar. He didn't know how Beauregard went after his victims, but if he led them to believe that his name was William and was interested in befriending them, then that was his own choice. Sayed did find it curious that there was still the whole "be wary of psychics" thing, yet Beauregard would, himself, indulge in psychics to the point of saying he was the owner of a planetarium (even if it was in a different city), but he was the dominus and he was a more powerful vampire.

There was a small thought at the back of his mind that perhaps he shouldn't drink from the psychic his dominus might be drinking from, but her scent was becoming so overpowering and he was quite hungry. Just a little bit, he told himself. Just a taste. Just to see what it was like, and then maybe find some unsuspecting human to get his fill.

Fangs extended more as he leaned closer to the opposite side of her neck. He could feel that she was tense, and a little bit of him felt bad for this. "It'll be alright," he said quietly in her ear before fangs finally plunged themselves in her neck. The feeding was slow at first, but as the blood finally filled the vampire's mouth, a lot of the logical part of Sayed was gone. The blood was unlike any he'd had before, and he felt as though he would never fully get enough of it.

This time, the act lacked novelty -- not to mention the intimacy afforded by the wining and dining that William had done. THe man bit down into her neck with a grace ill suited to the amicable exchange that this was supposed to be. Kat winced, her hands clenching at the edges of the table as he began to drink.

Luckily, her telepathy seemed to stay in check for the time being. The world was blissfully silent as Sayed fed upon her. Soon enough it would be over; he would be on his way, and she would be free to not think about this unpleasant little exchange again.

...Except it was going a bit longer than the last one had, wasn't it? She grimaced, a pang of fear traversing through her. "Rather thirsty, eh?" she murmured, irritable. "Do your best not to drain me dry, yeah? I sort of need this stuff to keep -- you know. Alive."

The more he drank, the more he felt like he was losing control. But the blood seemed so intoxicating and Sayed just wanted to let himself go. Just once, he didn't want to hold back. He felt powerful. The psychic was nothing to him. There was nothing she could do to stop him, or so he thought anyway. He moved closer to her, pressing his body against hers to further pin her against the table.

It sounded as though blood was rushing through his ears as he drank from the psychic, and he needed more. Sayed was well aware of the fact that she was speaking, but he paid no mind to her words. Instead, he just needed more. His nails grew longer and so did his fangs and he pulled away for just a second to look at the psychic. The talking needed to stop. Suggestion had a failure rate, but violence did not. Without much thought, his nails, long and sharp, sliced across her throat and his mouth went back to the blood dripping down her neck.


He didn't respond -- at least not verbally. Kat moved to push him off, only for him to separate from her. She breathed a sigh of relief as the pressure was relieved; she was feeling a little light-headed, after all, and the slight dizziness made the nagging spirits lurking at the corners of her vision all the more aggravating.

And then he lunged forwards, and the world around her became a living hell.

In an instant, the room danced with shades of distorted greys and whites as the ghosts of the damned flooded into the room from all corners. It was, perhaps, odd that so many spirits would linger in such a place -- but then, the land that Cordova sat upon was far more ancient than Cordova could ever hope to be. And its keepers, whose ultimate fates were to linger upon this threshold forever as eternally damned patrons of the earth itself, seemed eager to beckon Katherine into their macabre, corpuscular chorus.

She tried to shriek in pain, or in fear; it failed, regardless of the motivation. The sensation of warm, seeping liquid on her neck and chest set in a few moments before the actual sense of injury; for a blissful moment, it was like being slowly submerged in something warm and comforting. Her vision blurred, and the demons that clung to the shadows grew bolder in their advance.

They cared not to lurk in the corners of Katherine's vision now; they were far more intrigued by this violent display than anything else that had happened there. As far as the ghosts of the bookshop were concerned, they were finally going to usher in the woman who had so long eluded them; the one who had heard their cries but chosen to ignore them. They found it poetic, in so far as spirits were capable of poetry.

Katherine gripped feebly for something corporeal; she found the hem of Sayed's shirt and tugged hard, but the effort was unsupported by the requisite blood pressure required to exert any meaningful amount of force.

She was going to die here.

There was nothing Sayed felt except for the rush the blood was giving him. There was nothing he heard except for the sound of blood filling his veins. It had been a long time since he'd had such a deep drink. And with such intoxicating blood too. He continued to try to catch the streams of life giving liquid as it seeped from the woman, but the wound was deep and the blood too much. Still, he found a stream that could keep him satisfied as he greedily took his fill.

Sayed pulled away some minutes later, laughing happily as he wiped the blood from his mouth. He felt good. He felt full. He felt satisfied. There were a couple chairs in the room, and he casually pulled one out to sit down. Whether or not the psychic could support herself was not a problem with him, as he wanted to just sit and enjoy his high. He laughed again, a low chuckle, as he thought of the one time in his life he'd been drunk, and how happy he'd been. This felt like that. And anything that could connect him to his human memories was a positive.

The world was growing dark with an ominous rapidity. Katherine flopped unceremoniously downwards -- first onto the table, and then bent over the chair with her stomach placed upon its flat seat. Exsanguination wasn't necessarily a rapid way to go -- but it tended to be near its fastest when one managed to get their throat slit. She gurgled from her position on the chair, a pale and quivering hand reaching out towards the vampire surrounded with a wreath of waiting spirits.

"Plssse..." It was a pretty pitiful attempt at speech, but it was all that she could muster in the moment. She didn't want to die; she didn't want to join the spirits that haunted this place.

Sayed was content in his own high, unseeing and unfeeling to the psychic bleeding out on the chair. That was, until he heard her voice. With a grin, he finally looked at her. The grin fell as he noticed the state she was in. "Oh shit," he said quietly, and stood unsteadily from the chair. "Shit, fuck, fuck!" he cursed loudly as he all but wobbled his way over to her. He rubbed at his face and reached out for the woman, pulling her from the chair and laying her down on the floor. Or, basically, more like dropping her to the floor. He grimaced and knelt down beside her as his hand pressed down on her throat- not in the way to further choke her, but in a way to try to stop the bleeding.

"Fuck, I'm sorry!" he said, lifting her head up with his other hand. Of course, all the apologizing in the world wasn't going to stop the blood still streaming from her neck. He tried to think, but his mind was still gooby and awash with the high from the psychics blood. "Emergency service won't get here fast enough," he mumbled as he gently put her head down to fish his phone out from his pocket. The phone slid around in his bloody hands and in his frustration, he finally just let it clatter to the floor.

"Okay," he said, looking back to the psychic. "I think I can heal you with my blood? But it's gonna be horrible. Like, the taste, so I'm sorry." He didn't even know if that was something true- that vampire blood could heal someone. He hoped it was, because shit, he didn't want the last thing she tasted before her death was his rotten blood. He looked down at himself and finally bit his arm hard. He groaned against the pain, but didn't stop until he himself could taste his own blood. He held his arm over her mouth, letting his blood fall.

Katherine was only vaguely aware that Sayed was speaking -- actually grasping the meaning behind the words was proving next to impossible. She tried to babble and bubble some coherent response, but her mind couldn't even get there, let alone manage to motivate her tongue what with the lack of air and the mouth and throat full of blood.

Sayed's blood hit her tongue and slid down her throat without protest -- well, without protest aside from the desperate protestation associated with bleeding to death. Almost immediately, the wound upon her neck began to heal and close. It resembled a regular miracle -- though it was far bloodier and less pleasant to look at than most miracles tended to be. There was nothing tidy or holy about this exchange.

Still, even as the wound closed Katherine's world began to go dark. The skin knitted itself shut, but her heart had already given up on pumping what simply wasn't there. The neurons in her brain were firing blanks. Who was to say whether the great demon that bore down on her as she passed was a hallucination or some great malevolence brought upon her by her gifts. Either way, it was the last thing she saw before her life ebbed into absolute, unfeeling darkness.

give her ten minutes, chief, and she'll be good as new.

He watched as his blood hit her mouth and slid down her throat. He didn't dare release his hand from her throat right then, though. No, there was already too much blood lost. That was, until he felt skin moving against his hand. He finally moved his hand away and watched as the skin started to close up. "Hey, I think it's working," he said to the woman, as his hand went back underneath her head to prop it up. Only, there was no response from her.

"Hey," he said, using his hand to tap her cheek. "Stay with me." But there was nothing. Her eyes still looked at him, but there was nothing there. No life. Sayed sat there for a moment, stunned. He had killed someone. It wasn't something he'd come into contact with before- someone's death at his hands. He moved his hand from her head, letting it slide from his hands gently to rest on the floor. His hand then went to his own head as he sat unbelieving what had actually happened.

"Fuck me," he mumbled, letting his hands slide down his face. His eyes looked around the room, thinking there might be something there to help. The only thing there though that stuck out was his bloody phone. With a heavy sigh, he picked it up. Fuck, he'd done so well lately at not fucking up, and now here he was about to call his dominus that he'd killed someone. And what was worse- it was a someone that his dominus probably knew and apparently had on standby for a quick feeding.

Groaning, he opened his phone with some difficulty and called Beauregard.

Incoming call...


"Oh, dear."

He could not sense any immediate panic, but that just meant it was occurring outside of the Heights.



Fuuuuck, he didn't want to have this conversation.

Hi Beauregard. I, uh, I think I killed someone. We were alone, so there's no police and she didn't make any noise.

He swallowed hard. This was the part he really didn't want to mention.

I think you might have known her? Psychic in Cordova who runs, err, ran, uhm, a little paranomal bookshop. I don't remember her name, and I don't know what to do. I can't just leave her, right? That would be really shitty. I tried to, uh, heal her by giving her some of my blood, but it didn't work. Can you help? Please?


If nothing else, Sayed was straightforward.

Beauregard closed his eyes, hand moving to his face as a familiar, threatening tension settled in.

It did not improve as Sayed continued to describe a psychic that was, at least Beauregard hoped, a planned future dinner companion. A steak snatched from Beauregard's plate and turned now to an entire fucking corpse he needed to dispose of.

Breathing was unnecessary for vampires, but Beauregard had been advised it was helpful in times of great, trembling anger. And so he was silent for a moment, taking in a breath, counting in his head.

Tell me the address. Ensure the store is locked. Close blinds if there are any. I will be there as soon as I am able.

His tone was the sort of careful that implied he was rather on the cusp of something much uglier.

The calculated calm in Beauregard's voice did little to ease the anxiety in Sayed. The younger vampire kept the rest of the message prompt- giving just the address and simple I will do thats. Once off the phone, the vampire looked back at the woman and frowned. "I'm really sorry," he mumbled, as he got to his feet and set to work first cleaning the blood he could off of him, and then making sure everything was locked up and closed off.

At least his suggestion to get her to close up had worked. At least there hadn't been much of a struggle. At least they had been in a back room closed off from the rest of the shop. There were several good things working in his favor over this very not-so-good situation he'd found himself in. Once everything was taken care of, Sayed returned to the room with the body and waited there for Beauregard's arrival.

When Katherine's eyes next opened, the first thing that she noticed was that she was staring at the ceiling. The second thing, somewhat predictably given all that she had been through, was that she was in an absolutely horrendous mood.

"I -- what?" she asked dumbly, twisting her stiff neck to and fro. She was coated in her own blood, and the room was an absolute mess. It didn't take her long to spot out Sayed, seated in a chair and looking rather morose. The memories of what had happened came flooding back in that moment.

Her mouth hung agape. She pointed a finger at the man, looking positively baffled moreso than anything else. "I -- what did you -- what happened?!"

Suffice it to say that it was a good thing vampires no longer used the bathroom because the moment the woman spoke, there would have definitely been human bathroom waste all over that room. Sayed jumped in his chair and got to his feet in such a fast manner that he not only knocked over the chair, but also knocked it into the wall fairly hard. He stayed where he was for the moment, standing and staring at the woman as she pointed at him accusingly.

He finally moved over to her, albeit slowly, and knelt down next to her. "Well, I got a bit carried away, but you're alright now." Surely this was good news- she wasn't dead and when Beauregard got there, he could make her forget everything. Sayed knew he could do the same thing now, but given that his nerves were shot from thinking he'd murdered someone the dominus knew and from her suddenly waking up, he didn't think any suggestions would actually work.

Speaking of the dominus- Sayed looked back at his phone and then to the woman. "I have some help coming. Let me just text them to let them know you're awake." He looked back at his phone and typed out a quick message to Beauregard:

I guess she survived. She's awake.


‘A bit carried away’ indeed. The woman stared in disbelief at her immediate surroundings; her reading room was ruined, and she had no idea how she would be able to invite a cleaning crew to even attempt to restore it without also inviting a full scale murder investigation. The fluorescent lights that illuminated the room scalded like direct rays from the sun itself; she squeezed her eyes closed, waving a hand ineffectually at the source like a cat batting at a nearby toy.

"Can you please turn that light off?!" she growled, uncharacteristically irritable in her tone and pitch. This damn vampire had nearly killed her; the least he could do was give her recently-almost-deceased eyes a few seconds to adjust to stimuli.

In the back of her mind Kat wondered as to the identity of this person coming to ‘help’.

Presumably it was another vampire. She hoped this one wasn’t hungry, as well; she doubted she had much left in her system to accommodate, and she clearly couldn’t put up a fight against – against whatever Sayed had become. It was horrifying. She reeled, her mind filled with thoughts of fear and anxiety and frustration and…

Hunger. Goodness, but was it filled with that. She was starving completely insatiated, as if she hadn’t eaten in days. Kat clutched at her stomach with one hand and at covered her eyes with the other. This was miserable.

There was no immediate response back from Beau, which made sense because he was probably flying over. But the psychic surely had enough to say. She growled out her demand to turn the light off, and Sayed obliged. It took him a few moments to locate the light switch, but soon enough he found it and turned it off. A little bit of light trickled in from the opened door to the room, but vampires had good night sight anyway.

He returned to the woman and knelt back down beside her. "How are you feeling?" he asked quietly, knowing damn well she probably didn't feel too hot with what had happened. But he'd been sure she had definitely been dead, so it was really odd that she was now alive. A thought suddenly crept into his mind, and if he wasn't already pale, he would've been then.

What if he had turned her?

Sayed wasn't exactly sure of the process, but he knew that it, too, involved vampire blood. He tried to remember what he'd felt like a few years back when he'd been turned. He was grouchy too. And he was also starving. "D-Do you feel hungry?" he tacked on.

Sayed obliged her, thank goodness. At least he had the courtesy to fetch the lights after nearly killing a woman. She opened her eyes – and even still the light trickling under the door was enough to cause her to grimace and flinch away. God, it felt like she was coming down from a really bad high.

He asked after her well-being; at least he seemed to feel bad about this whole thing, she thought to herself. "I feel like shit," she replied somewhat predictably. Still, it was the thought of the matter that counted to her. At least she was alive, and at least he seemed to be reticent with apology.

And then he asked a follow-up question, and in Kat’s post-death haze she couldn’t quite make heads or tails of it. She slowly turned to eye the vampire, looking more than a little perplexed. "Yeah, starving," she said slowly. "Why, did you want to go grab burgers or something?"

Fuck. Okay. So she was likely a vampire. Or transitioning into one. That was better than just dealing with a dead body, right? Sayed hoped so anyway. "No, I was just curious. Uh, you need to rest." He had on two long sleeved shirts, and though his sweater was covered in blood, he still took it off, balled it up, and helped slide it under her head. "Just lay here for a bit. I'm going to go wait for the, uh, help to arrive, alright?"

Without even waiting for her to answer, he was up and out of the room, closing the door gently after him. He didn't need to breathe, but he did anyway, taking deep breaths. This wasn't going to be the end of the world. He checked the watch he wore, noting that it had been quite a few minutes from the last time he'd talked to Beau. Hopefully he would be arriving shortly.

"What?" Kat stared incredulously at Sayed.

What? she thought as he stripped off his bloodied outer layer.

WHAT?! she mentally shrieked as he used the clothen OSHA violation as a pillow to slip under her blood-coated head and hair.

But before she had the chance, he was gone – out the door, courtesy of a starburst of external light that caused the woman to hiss and spit. Maybe there was something wrong with her, she thought – well, other than the obvious quandary of the blood loss. Maybe she had a concussion? Maybe she’d taken a hard tumble. The events leading up to her loss of consciousness were difficult to put together, but it certainly felt like she’d been out for quite a while. Maybe he was right. Maybe she should just stay here and rest.

Yeah, that was a stupid idea – but honestly she was too tired to care. She flopped back in the mess of her own blood, just trying to order her thoughts and ignore the bemused ghast floating above the table and miming the pouring of some sort of drink – maybe a beer bottle? -- onto her. Cheeky little bastard. She’d never liked that one.

"Not today, fucker," she said, sticking her tongue out at the spirit.

Beauregard saw the text message just as he found a parking spot several blocks down and took the rest of the route on the wing. It was, sincerely, worse than a corpse.

Now it was a chatty woman, no longer edible, that Beauregard was responsible for. Not Sayed, who had repeatedly proven irresponsible for all that he'd held a certain charm.

The vampire would certainly feel his presence as he fluttered to the door, tapping a few times against it before hopping back. There was no trick he needed to hide now. Katherine was, regrettably, about to know all too much.

If he didn't decide to kill permanently her first.

For the moment, the psychic was ignored. For the second time that night, Sayed refused to hear her. Instead, he awaited the arrival of Beauregard. True to form, he felt the presence of the dominus before he saw him, but he still moved towards the door. Once he heard the tapping of the bird, he unlocked the door and opened it quickly. Once the vampire bird was inside, the door was once again closed and locked.

He didn't want to be the first one to speak, but there were things that Beau would need to know. "I'm sure she's a vampire. I haven't told her that yet." And then he paused, not sure how Beauregard would take that. People reacted differently to that sort of news and Sayed had felt like it might be better if there were more than one vampire there to break the news. "She's in the back room over here," he said quietly, walking towards the room.

As soon as he was in, Beauregard would switch from bird to man, facing Sayed with a frown that lingered but was not excessive.

She was a vampire. She was unaware. He could smell blood, see blood, and that was enough to have him regrettably fanged. (Some distant, lingering threat of bloodlust likely didn't help.)

He spoke very softly, mindful of being overhead, as he looked to Sayed with directness.

"This question may, perhaps, alarm you, but there is no wrong answer."

A small sigh.

"Would you prefer she survive to become a vampire, or to end this particular encounter permanently this evening? You would not need to be involved in the second option."

"Right, yes," Sayed said softly, looking down at the floor for just a moment. Of course he knew there was really no wrong way, but he didn't know if there was maybe a gentle way Beauregard knew, as an advanced vampire in charge of a clutch. But he supposed it didn't make sense that there wasn't- as the dominus had said, there was no wrong way to go about this.

The next question came as more of a shock than the answer he'd been given before. Yes, he had killed her and now caused her to be in a limbo stage between a human on borrowed time and a vampire, but that didn't mean that this was his decision to make. Though, truthfully, he already felt terrible for what he'd done and the thought of anyone, including the dominus, killing her did not sit well with him.

"I think it might be better to leave the choice up to her," he said even quieter than he'd previously spoken before.

Beauregard did not, in the end, care what Katherine thought about it. This was a matter of convenience, of responsibility.

He nodded regardless, coming to terms with this latest disaster. Inevitably, Katherine could not know the unfortunate truth of her origin, though there was the risk his suggestions would fail. How ugly that would be.

"Best we go tell her, then," he sighed, and his intention was very much to lead the way into the room, Sayed now decidedly in the passenger seat of this situation.

Negation would occur immediately, primarily to protect Sayed's thoughts. Beauregard's own were safe.

"Not how I expected to meet again," he said with a meager but not apologetic smile.

William. There was a beautiful, if cruel irony to the fact that the clean-up crew consisted of her first and only other vampiric contact. She smiled up at the man, though it was a weak sort of gesture. The rude ghast on the table flickered out of existence -- the handsome elder vampire's own gifts must have been activated, she thought.

What didn't they want her to know? Not that she intended to read anyone's mind in the scenario -- but the conspicuous absence of her powers triggered a shiver of fear.

"To say the least," she confirmed with a grimace, looking more than a little shaken. She sat up, wincing visibly more at the lack of pain than anything else. She should be hurting far more than she actually was.

"I don't suppose you're here to tell me that this was all some misunderstanding? Help me get all of this cleaned up and we can all be on our respective ways?"

There was blood, an abundance of it, and that seemed to reawaken his fangs. They were troublesome, rude things, and it was good that he'd adjusted so well to talking without flashing them.

"Afraid not," he said simply, looking over the space with a slight shake of his head. "If you've ever wondered what it might be like to be turned into a vampire, well. You're living it."

His smile was polite, some tension rising. Beauregard thought distantly of Dax and would not admit he missed the girl.

For now, he sought to read into Katherine's reaction, to see if the idea horrified her as deeply as it did some. She'd been a chatty, inquisitive woman with an obvious interest in the supernatural. Perhaps she'd take better to it than Beauregard feared.

Sayed followed behind Beauregard to the room. He knew that this was something the dominus was going to take over, and he was to just be quiet. He actually probably didn't even need to be in there, but he wanted to at least see what the psychic's determination would be. He nodded as he realized that he had been right to assume that William was Beauregard, and that made his stomach do that anxiety-ridden sinking feeling. Still, he said nothing.

It wasn't until Beauregard told her she was a vampire that he even moved. His head snapped up and looked over at the dominus with a look of shock and confusion. Yes, there wasn't a right or wrong way to tell someone that they had been killed and turned into a vampire, but surely, there was an easier way than what had been said. Sayed looked back to the psychic with an apologetic look, but otherwise, said nothing.

William's words hung in the air for a few moments, held aloft by Sayed's apologetic (if somewhat mortified) expression. The woman stared between the two, one after the other, as the revelation sunk in.

She smiled -- a queer, lopsided sort of look that belied a certain degree of absurdity. "Oh, thank goodness," she laughed, tilting her head back and directing the sound towards the ceiling. "And here I was worried I was about to get killed to prevent some cover-up."

To be sure, it wasn't great news. In fact, the prospect was downright mortifying. She had always had an interest in the supernatural, it was true -- but she had never intended to walk amongst them to this extent.

...Or had she? In truth, it was something that she had considered with a renewed sort of morbid curiosity ever since she had met William for the first time. She had never once decided that it was something to pursue -- it had been something more abstract, a sort of 'would I be okay with it if it happened to me' personal inquiry. Well, no time like the present to learn about oneself.

"To be honest, I'm almost relieved," she said, taking several deep breaths as she tried her best to remain calm and process the information and ignore that horrendous gnawing hunger in the center of her abdomen. "I mean -- wow, I think I'm also in shock, which I suppose is fair. But given the choice between this and haunting my own bookshop for eternity..."

She fell silent. A beat or two passed; long enough for her to try to stop talking her way out of her own fear. Tears welled in her eyes, though she could not tell whether they were a result of the trauma of her near death, or the horror of her apparent newfound undeath.

"This is what I get, I suppose. I'm such an idiot. What was it I said the other night, William? About curiosity and cats?"

There was fascination in watching it sink in. The laughter, first, and the way she offered some lighthearted take on it all. But they could all see that begin to fade, her demeanor having been cracked around the edges from the first second Beauregard arrived in this room.

He felt, still, a lingering desire to simply finish what Sayed had started. Pin her somewhere and feed until she was gone and he was too high to feel much other than relief. If Katherine had been his own mistake, it would have been done already. Beauregard Bertrand did not create fledglings. He did not turn anyone, for any reason, ever. No psychic or human was ever more valuable to Beauregard as something that could take meals from him. Enough vampires appeared on their own; they were not a race at risk for dying out. (Ha, ha. Dying.)

It took a moment, perhaps a second longer than was wise, for Beauregard to fall into a familiar role.

"There is no need to beat yourself up," he said, drawing nearer, realizing she could get blood on his clothing. Woe was Beauregard. He held out an arm, some invitation for perhaps a hug, or simply to help her up. Rika's influence, a reminder of what women liked. "Sayed will work to clean this space up a bit. You and I can talk outside of this room for a bit so there's a bit more room to breathe."

The intention, of course, was to perform a few suggestions, but it was a matter of one step at a time.

Katherine had no interest in moving from this precise spot at the moment. A part of her wanted to lie in her pool of blood where she belonged until oblivion ultimately claimed her anyway. But no -- she had no intention of dying. She feared death more than anything else in the world, including but certainly not limited to sudden onset vampirism.

She grasped William's hand, slowly and shakily rising to her feet. "No, I suppose there isn't," she agreed with a wobbly voice. "I suppose I've been beaten up enough as it is, tonight." She flashed Sayed a look of -- frustration? Anger? Sadness? She herself wasn't entirely sure.

"Still. Room to -- room to breathe. Yes." She nodded, following William back into the bookstore proper. She made no attempt to draw closer to him than necessary, and had little interest in doing much save for looking down at her blood-coated hands as she walked.

Sayed had no problems with cleaning up the space since he was the one who'd created the mess to start with. What he didn't much enjoy, which came as a surprise to him, was staying behind in the room while Beauregard dealt with the psychic. There was a twinge of protective energy he felt towards her- a twinge that nearly pushed him forward to protest, but he caught his tongue on his teeth before the first sound could even leave his mouth.

Instead, he watched as Beauregard helped her to her feet to lead her out of the room. And he accepted the look the psychic gave him as she left with Beau. He told himself that the dominus knew best and would have her best interests at heart, but there was still just the tiniest bit of him that didn't exactly trust the situation- even if Beauregard had never given him reason to not trust him.

In fact, Sayed then felt bad about how he felt towards Beau- the vampire who had taken him in and dealt with all his misgivings and mistakes as diplomatically as possible. He frowned. The entire situation was difficult, and so, Sayed merely set to work cleaning up what he could.

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