River opened the double wooden doors, taking one step in before bowing in front of the elegant older woman who sat a great distance into the room.
“Hello River darling.” Her cool and calm voice reverberated in the empty room.
“Madam O.” He said curtly, making his path into the room further to stand in front of her desk.
“Well..there are some things you need to tell me….like where is our Rose?”
Madame O angrily grunted out frustration, composed herself again before she said calmly, “Why is she over there River? Did I not send you out there to intercept?”
River was the only other person to ever see the woman who ruled the Sectors lose her cool.
“Yes Madame O. Pardonnez mon échec, Forgive my failure. It was Kemar that tricked the Brynn’s. He was under the guise that he worked for us to gain their trust.”
“I can’t believe that we did not catch on. How could this go so wrong so quickly River?”
“It was all a set up. Black’s people intercepted our messages to the Brynn’s and theirs to us. It seems that either we have a traitor among us or they used a powerful vampire to corrupt our carrier.”
Madame O shook her head, “No..no…if anyone came into the Sectors using that kind of power and messing with our people, even if they were just walking around…trust me darling..I would have felt them.” She was one of the oldest vampires around, and the list of vampires that could match her power was not that long. So River had to trust she knew what she was talking about.
“So a traitor it is then.” He replied. Madame O looked at River. She stood up and crossed the room to where the handsome twenty eight year old stood. He was caught perfectly in the prime of his youth and beginning of his adult years.
She could remember the first time she laid eyes on him in Paris. He had been forcefully turned against his will to serve for all eternity at the feet of Belladonna, the immortal ruler of that land. He was an accessory, something that made the woman look good…using only his body never his potential. Madame O was her guest in Paris and she had violated several rules when she liberated River Kile from Belladonna, a transgression the once friend now enemy, would never forget.
He has been part of her undead group the Midnight Bloods for 23 years already. How time flew to make him her most trusted vampire to inflict judgment and justice for her throughout the Sectors.
He stood there silently letting her watch him, study him like she liked too. It always reminded him of Belladonna, and the way she liked to watch him. Like he was something to be admired. The only difference between the two was that Belladonna watched him like a depraved sexual being and Madame O watched him like she was trying to read behind his glass like expression.
“Yes…Find the one who dared to betray me and bring him here. And you know who to contact to bring Rose to us. Its time his 54 years of undercover work did something more.”
River nodded and bowed shortly, turning on his heels and leaving.
He half turned.
“Ill be seeing you later this morning before dawn breaks.”
He nodded and left.
She may be well over 200 years old, but her libido was still quite intact. Belladonna might have only used him for his body and never his wit or potential, but she used him for both.
“I understand.” John clicked the phone off. Looking around the lab he noticed he was alone. His long strides took him across the room quickly to where they kept live specimen. Grabbing several tiny blood tubes and a syringe he made his way over to the rats. With gloved hands he picked one up and inserted the needle into the tiny squirming creature. He pulled back and received blood. He carefully drew out only the amount that the creature could give and not die, which was not much.
He placed the lethargic rat back into the cage and emptied the blood into a test tube, it didn’t even fill it halfway. For the next several minutes John carefully collected a rat, extracted a certain amount of its blood and added it to the tubes. He was deep in concentration that he did not realize when Friedrich had come into the room.
“What are you doing?” the other scientist asked.
John quickly composed himself from being startled as he replied, “Just collecting some of their blood for future use. We really are going to need some for all the blood testing we need to do tomorrow.”
Friedrich nodded, “Alrighty John, I just wanted to let you know that Ill be going home now. I haven’t slept in a long time, or received supplements yet. I don’t know how Im standing upright with all the commotion going on around here.” He chuckled nervously.
Friedrich was a good man on the wrong side of the fence. And because he abided the law and only saw black and white, he was a deadly enemy to those that dealt in the grayish areas; despite his shaky demeanor.
John nodded not looking back, “Alright my man. Ill see you tomorrow then. After I’m done here I’m going to refrigerate this and head home myself. I hate when Rick orders us to sleep here instead of going home, I haven’t seen my girl in a while you know.” He said tossing back a half smile at Friedrich.
Friedrich shook his head a little too fast. “Sure you don’t need any help?”
“Nah..I got it..don’t worry yourself. You look pretty beat anyways.” John said, still not turning around. For if he did, Friedrich would notice the amount of blood taken and become suspicious why he wasn’t using the larger animals in the basement for that amount. Little did he know that John was in a hurry.
The other man nodded and left the room. John threw the needle away in the biohazard container and made sure all the test tubes were wiped and locked tightly. He slipped them into his pocket as he walked to his desk. His eyes darted around, making sure he was truly alone again. Quickly he pulled out labels and pasted them to the tube with Rose’s initials ‘RCB’, Rose Cassidy Brynn. He secured them in an insulated plastic white box and moved to the fridge to make the exchange. He had to swipe his security card several times, rapidly entering codes that were needed to get into the all glass enclosed room.
With the mouse blood in place he disposed of Rose’s specimens down the sink, keeping but one vial of blood carefully wrapped and placed into his pocket.
Now came the hard part, breaking out Rose. A few minutes later of quietly creeping up the stairs from the lab on the 25th floor to Rose on the 31st, John found himself lingering in the hallway that led to the room Rose was being held in.
He stayed hidden, using his abilities to seamlessly blend into the background and shadows…that’s actually what a Shadower did. Except that they were really good at it.
John didn’t need to breathe, so he was literally still as a statue. He stood there like that for maybe two or three hours.
Rick would never leave Rose alone…even if she was in a fortified room. John was smart enough to know that he would place a Shadower at the door, especially since the militant guards that were there before were now gone, a trap for anyone looking to make contact with the girl. It was then that the black man faltered. He seemed to be getting agitated to be staying still and so the illusion broke in several places allowing John to see how correct he was.
Shit…Rick stationed Kemar as the Shadower?
John cursed himself. How was he going to break her out of there if that trigger happy mongrel was shadowing her?
A moment of watching the other man by the door and John next thought was, did he suck as a Shadower though; a better one there and John wouldn’t ever have known there was one. Didn’t matter if he waited all day or all week, a professional never would falter. Kemar didn’t have the patience it took to be a Shadower.
That’s what Rick gets for being cheap.
John began quickly formulating plans in his head. He backtracked his way from the hallway and down the stairs to the lab downstairs, as quietly as the only the dead can. Kemar was a brute no doubt about it, but he was still a vampire. Around the same age as John as the matter of fact maybe a year or two older, so John knew what he was capable of doing.
This time he took the elevator, he had his clipboard in his hand pretending to look at it, shuffling a paper here and there. He soon reached the floor where Kemar was and without looking up he said,
“Kemar? You there?” He looked up, pretending to be looking hard for a Shadower. No need to tell him what a shitty job he was doing. There was no answer and he sighed,
“Kemar, I know you’re here shadowing her. Black sent me here, told me to tell you he wants to speak to you. Something or another about security detail.”
Kemar made a face as he uncloaked himself from his powers.
“What the fuck man. He tells me to do this, and then commands me to go there. Like I haven’t done enough yesterday…I haven’t even fucking fed yet!” He grumbled to himself as he stomped angrily away.
John nodded and looked sympathetic. He could still hear the grumbling as Kemar took the elevator to level 55, the highest floor of the building, where Blacks penthouse like office was. Once he couldn’t, he made a dash for the locked room. He had a key plus the swipe card and effortlessly opened the door.
Rose -who was pacing the floor in the room- looked at him rather surprised.
“Time to go!” John said.