Chapter LV: Dust is Our Fare
It was easy enough to find the man's apartment. It was in a state of disarray, every available surface covered in books on the occult, tomes on ghost sightings in rural America, legends and myths of the Mayans...I proceeded up the stairs, the smell of stagnant fear leading me to the man's bedroom. Inside the large bedroom a computer sat, the details for the investigation in the hospital still on-screen.
'There has to be a way out of this', I muttered. 'I can't do what Pisha asked...'
Yet my hopes were dashed by the photo on the desk. A young woman, eyes wide in fear, being attacked by a creature that was no doubt a Nosferatu. There was no way that it could be written off as a hoax once it entered the public domain.
The man sealed his own fate. The Beast crooned, reasonable and understanding. Not your fault if he was looking into things which should remain unseen.
I sighed, pulling open the wardrobe door. I wanted this over, and quickly.
The man huddled, whimpering, hands over his head. I looked into his panicked eyes, saw the madness there. He'd never be the same again after this anyway. It would be doing him a favou...but did I really believe that? Or was I justifying what I'd have to do?
'Milligan, snap out of it buddy.' I hated my voice then, it's easy-going tone, the laid back attitude I affected.
'They're fine', I laughed. 'Seems that for once it's not you that's pulling the prank. They're waiting for you on the lower level.'
'A prank? Ha ha, yeah, a prank!' The man's eyes were wide still, burning feverishly. 'Thanks man, I'll meet you down there!'
Without pausing for breath, the man ran from the room, taking the stairs three at a time. I heard the slamming of the door. Dark heavy oak creaked shut over the sound of modern wood. I knew that sound was condemnation. What had I done? I had protected the masquerade. I had ensured that secrets that could not get out would not get out. The man was hardly an innocent...
Yet I had sentenced him to death as surely as if I had pulled the trigger. I felt unclean, sordid. I could not go back to Pisha right away. Not now. She'd have to wait. Right now, I needed to get out of town.
Hailing the cab, I tersely uttered the word 'Hollywood'. Decided to pay Isaac a visit, see if there was anything I could do to take my mind off things for a while. I looked out of the window, brooding. Was this my fate? To slowly sink into increasingly depraved acts, losing my humanity, my soul, act by act, doing what was necessary and damning myself twice?
Stepping into Isaac's office, I was met with a broad grin from the director, warm and genuine.
'Good to see you again kid, good to see you. You did pretty well out there, Nosferatu have already dropped by with some more information.' He paused, distant. 'And for helping Ash. Thank you.'
I returned the smile. Isaac had been around for generations. So had Nines, wherever he was now. They both seemed to be in touch with their humanity, did not seem controlled by the dictat that ends justify the means...if they could manage, maybe I could too...
'No problem Isaac, happy to help. Actually, I'm having a slow night, I was wondering if there was anything else happening in Hollywood I could do.'
Isaac laughed, shaking his head in amusement. 'Always on the go, huh kid? You've done more in a night than half the kindred manage in a year...'
'A gargoyle? I used to watch those things on TV...shouldn't they be back in Scotland by now?'
'This one is a little different from the Saturday morning TV kind, trust me.'
'Oh, and by the way', Isaac said as I opened the door. 'I don't want to sound tactless, but you should probably talk to someone who knows more about these things...Gargoyles...well, they're Tremere work.'