The Baited Hook - Day 3
Charmaine was very pretty and Hex had a bit of a crush on her. They knew none of what they felt was actually chemical, but rather the human part of their brain telling them she was someone who they would have found attractive when they were alive. Or it could have been the fact that she was a Toreador, and they had the power to make others feel things they didn’t normally feel.
Sometimes it made Hex uncomfortable, but only once they thought back on it.
When Charmaine asked for Hex’s help, they were happy to oblige. After all, it was a good way to earn favor in the Camarilla.
“My contact has gone missing. She used to work in a gallery off Royal Street and she was very talented. I need to know what happened to her. Would you be willing to help? I would consider it a favor owed.” Her southern drawl was like candy to Hex and they couldn’t tell if it was their own brain or her abilities that made them feel this way, but they agreed all too quickly and without question.
The shop was closed up for the night, something a lot of businesses on Royal Street didn’t actually do. Since it was one street down from Bourbon, they tended to get a lot of drunk walking traffic, so impulse buying was very popular. Thankfully Charmaine had a key to get in.
“So, it looks like they just locked up and left. I don’t know what to tell you Charmaine.” Hex was certain there was nobody inside. “Let me go take a look around quick and see.” Hex was comfortable sneaking around and was confident they were not seen by any onlookers or cameras in the building.
Hex lurked their way into the back employee area and peeked around a corner. The brief glimpse of the hand laying on the ground caught Hex off guard for a second. A glance into the room told Hex a very interesting story indeed. Charmaine was there alright, and she was not moving.
Hex moved closer and could see she was already dead, her skin wrinkled and pale, a sign she had been drained of her blood. As Hex knelt down next to the woman, they laid their hand on the body and said a quick blessing for the spirit.
As Hex finished up, a piercing scream filled the air as Charmaine walked into the room. “You!” her shrill voice carried through the building “You killed her! I trusted you and this is how you repay me?” her fangs shown now, and her once beautiful face barely contained the beast that ate away at her soul. “You killed her. You killed my friend! You violated my business and my domain!”
Hex jumped up “Wait, what? Charmaine, you wanted me to help you, remember?” Hex could barely get the words out before the Sheriff came into the room. “Hex, step away from the body.”
Shaking and confused, Hex stood up “Sheriff, I didn’t do anything. She was already dead.”
Charmaine continued to cause a scene, accusing Hex of breaking into the property and killing this woman by draining her. She even went so far as to say Hex was trying to embrace the woman as she walked in, which was amusing to Hex for many reasons. The Sheriff, not wanting to have Charmaine continue to raise hell and possibly draw any unwanted attention, took Hex into custody.
As Hex left, a smirk was playing on Charmaine’s lips. She played Hex, and like the fool they are, they walked right into it.
The Sheriff got into the back of the car with Hex and the driver started off with them. “Are you going to kill me?” Hex wondered out loud.
“No, that bitch of a Toreador is trying to make a power play against you. She cashed in some boons to get this set up, the Harpy told me, since I held boons over him. Luckily for you, my name holds more weight than that petty upstart of a wannabe.” Hex snorted and the Sheriff looked on amused. “I can’t make this go away. But I may be able to introduce you to someone who could help you turn this around on Charmaine. It’s a long game, but if you want to learn how to play to win, this is how you do it.”
Hex nodded slowly “What do I have to do?”
“Listen. Learn. Do exactly what you are told, and know that if you mess up and things go south, I can’t catch you. But, I think this person will be able to.”
The car slowed to a stop in front of a club, strobe lights blinking in the windows and figures of shadowed dancers briefly flashing in between. The effect made the dancers seem to appear in random places in the windows. The music could be heard down the street and was overwhelming for Hex.
The Sheriff had the car stop around the corner. “I can’t go in there with you. I need to go to the Prince with my findings. You will be summoned to court tomorrow, so come dressed to impress, not like some ragamuffin. You will want to find Maman Avicii.” The Sheriff opened the door and ushered Hex out into the street.
Hex wasn’t sure if they could trust the Sheriff. Were they being played twice in one night? Was this really the end for them?
The music was deafening and Hex had to focus to keep from being overwhelmed by it. When they walked to the bouncer who was checking ID’s, they asked to see Maman Avicii. The bouncer gave a sad smile and shook his head in a way that suggested Hex was in a lot of trouble. He was lead into the back area up a set of stairs that lead to a rooftop. The bouncer only followed to the base of the staircase and left Hex to climb it alone themselves.
The sticky night air felt good to Hex, who was overwhelmed with the smell of sweat and bodily fluids from the club, and the music was now just a din. Hex stepped into one of the most beautiful gardens they had ever seen in the city, and definitely never on a rooftop.
The woman at the top of the staircase was beautiful and haunting. Her dark skin was contrasted by the bone that was chained around her body like jewels. Her head was shaved and she had tattoos covering her body. She spoke, her smooth voice was gentle and soft.
“Welcome, childe, to the garden you can now call home.”