Undead Paladin Chapter 8: Centralization

The short drive from the county road to Barrie lead to an older building in the centre of the down town, where it had seen better days long before the vampire outbreak. The building the van pulls up to had tarnished faux silver along the side of the grey brick work and was charmingly dubbed in large, tarnished chrome lettering “Roxx”* followed by smaller plastic writing under that reading “Boarding Hostile.” At this point Watts opened the van door and gestured Amanda to follow. The sun was climbing and Watts had pulled his hood further along his face than usual for a sweet spring day would allow. Watts approached the front door with Amanda and her sparkles following close behind, anxious and unsure.

“Where are we?” Amanda asked nervously.

Watts seemed to not notice her speak as he opened the door and gestured Amanda to follow him further. To which she did, and walked into a recently renovated space within. It was plainly done from what Amanda could tell, with this simple grey room acting like a reception of sorts, followed with a stairwell and elevator leading to a second story and basement, if the up and down arrows on the elevator panelling were any indication. There are halls that lead to a row of door that seem way too close to eachother to indicate that the rooms are any larger than closets.

At the small desk in the makeshift reception room was a harsh looking woman shuffling over some papers. Watts gently tapped on the desk, to which the woman lifted her head in response and smiled.

“Watts, my dear, your back,” the woman replied in a half-grin, “and I see you have company. Good job my boy.”

“Thanks ma'am,” Watts replied quickly, “she's from that fenced place near Orillia. Heard from the others?”

“Batsie checked in,” the woman replied, “she found a few lingering from the wood. They escaped the convoy from Toronto. Is she one of those?”

“No ma'am, she isn't,” Watts replied, “she was from the fenced place.”

“Kay-kay then,” the woman turned her attention to Amanda. “Your name, miss?” she simply asked.

“A...Amanda,” she stuttered her answer.

“Tickled pink,” the woman replied sarcastically, “Name's Lilith, and I run the network here in Simcoe and area... when not running the Roxx Boarding Hostile of course. The best in cheap accommodations within the city. Oh has such a market boomed since a little beauty called a curfew. Police suck in so many ways of the word, but whatever – if Watts brought you in you must now be eligible for our little society in the network.”

“The what?” Amanda asked in confusion.

“Poor girl all confuzzled?” Lilith replied in a torturous way, “the 'network' is just what we call the huddling and protection gang for vampires.”

Amanda hung her head. “You are a vampire, right?” Lilith asked quickly, “cuz if you're not, I would have to drain you, and then give Watts a good ol' flogging for being a dumbass.”

“Yeah,” Amanda replied quietly.

“... Can't hear you sweetheart,” Lilith became mocking and cruel.

“She ain't been a vamp long ma'am,” Watts quickly interjected, seeing the cruel eyes Lilith was giving to Amanda. “Besides,” Watts kept going, “her skin does something funny.”

“Oh, really now?” Lilith was intrigued. She held up a fistful of paper from her desk. “So there is some truth to this here leak thingy,” she waved it in Watts' face. She handed it to Watts who quickly scanned it. He looked back up at Lilith.

“Who sent it?” he asked her. “How should I know?” she replied quickly.

“What is it?” Amanda piped in with a look of worry on her face.

“Its a 'note' by Anon Ymous,” Lilith returned, “I found it on my desk in a brown envelope. I wonder if anyone peeked in it before I got in from break relieving Nina the night-girl.

“It's tells of a new breed of vampires: vampires that can walk in the daytime – daywalkers I guess. The papers seem to be from a bunch of scientists and it had this cute note that I guess was written by a guilt ridden Dr. A Ymous. I dismissed it as a joke by either Nina or Batsie or something – I mean it claims that this new breed of vampire sparkles under sunlight, which is fucking retarded Stephanie Meyer dross from the naughties.

“I mean, it can't be true! There can't be any sparkling twilipires roaming the streets of northern Ontario, I mean, it just sounds so...”

Lilith lost coherence when a wave of giggles came over her. Amanda and Watts started at her with absurdity trained upon her until her giggle-fit abruptly broke under the crack of reality.

“This shit is true, isn't it?” Lilith retreated vocally.

Amanda nodded. Lilith shook her head further. Amanda nodded and Lilith shook her head again with Amanda saying “Yeah, its kinda true, and... well, I'm like proof.”

Lilith banged her head against her desk. “I gather you came, Watty boy, to give Ms Cullen here a safe stay for the night and show the ropes of our secret gangy thingy,” she spoke with her face on the desk.

“Yes ma'am,” Watts replied.

“Mad science sucks,” she went on, “We have vampires because someone was being evil and stupid, and we have twilipires because someone else was being evil and stupid. This shit is here because of mad science being stupid and evil.”

“You know, if we just behaved morally and not in disgusting perversion we wouldn't have this problem,” Amanda added on smugly, “we are being punished for...”

“She's one of 'those' people ma'am,” Watts interrupted quickly.

“Ack, no worries Watts,” Lilith waved him off and refocused on Amanda, “I guess we are in disagreement as to whose evil and stupidity caused our problems, but we can agree on one thing: it was someone's evil and stupidity.”

***

“Do we have company upstairs?” One overly pale anaemic woman spoke to a second, while hovering over a man with a tanned complexion, sitting in an refurbished dentist's chair with tubes from his forearm to a clear bag with a red liquid inside of it.

“Of course she does: their called clients,” the second retorted, “There is enough poverty to fill the dead sea, and enough begging to afford them a closet here at the Roxx.”

“What if they come down here?” the first woman asked.

“They won't,” the second replied, “they will get a closet and sleep or something... or get bounced out for loitering and having no money.”

“Then why do I hear the elevator coming down?” the man asked sheepishly.

“Meh, it's friends likely,” the second woman merely responded.
*For your information, the “Roxx” is a nightclub located in modern day, shit hole, down-town Barrie, Ontario.