<Storyteller> Henry, it’s later in the evening once again. The day was pretty uneventful for you, other than some cops coming back to ask you a few questions here or there about the gator and how it was in your car. At about 8:30 pm, you hear footsteps approaching your cell and a police officer unlocks your door. A man with pulled back white hair and a charcoal gray suit

steps in and gestures. “We’ll be a while hopefully. If you could bring my friend here something to drink..tea? coffee?”

<Storyteller> The police officer looks at Henry. “Right, whatdoyawant?”

<Henry> was in the worst state of rumpled looking, though doing his best to maintain his composure. He’d slept fitfully in a jail cell, hadn’t shaved, and kept having to revisit that terrifying image of a child eaten and dismembered by an alligator in his car. He understood that the police were simply doing their jobs but he’d love nothing more than a hot meal, a warm shower, and a comfortable bed. When the two men approached, Henry was

sitting on the bench that doubled as a bed, half slumped over with his chin in his hand and a tired expression on his face. All of that vanished though as he heard the footsteps come closer and the key in the lock. He straightened into a proper posture and adjusted his glasses to eye the man curiously. Was this his public attorney? Well it was possible… Poor chap had obviously gone rather drastically prematurely grey, “A spot of tea

with a bit of milk would be lovely.” Though at this point Henry would settle for week old stale coffee as long as it was at least lukewarm. He stood, as was proper, to greet his visitor? Attorney? Psychologist? Next questioner?”

■► Cassian ◄■ nodded to the officer to gesture that this was a good idea. The cop turned and headed off. Cassian would sit opposite of Henry. “Greetings. I normally do not take time out to come up and talk to those they hold but your case is special. I am the doctor that did forensics and checked over the scene there..and had to get animal control in to put

the alligator to sleep to get it out of the car.”

<Henry> Would sit after Cassian took his seat. He would have preferred to exchange pleasantries, such as names, but apparently they were meant to get to the meat of the matter. The Welshman winced as the topic was brought up and looked a little pale as if he was remembering the scene in his mind, “Ah… yes. I suppose that you would like to ask me some questions about the incident as well?” Of course he did, that is the only reason

people came into the cell to talk with him here. He lifted his glasses from his face the pinch the bridge of his nose and took a steadying breath, “A… truly dreadful waste of life… what… would you like to know.”

■► Cassian ◄■ would wait until the police officer brought you the tea and milk and then he’d pass it to you before sitting again. He seemed to be studying you physically, each detail..your fingers, hands, your attire, your muscularity, and he’d shrug. “I am going to surmise that you did not put the alligator into your vehicle in any way really and we can move

on from there. Do you know of someone who has an issue with you personally or is there some reason you can think of that someone would do such an atrocious thing to you?”

<Henry> Was a slight man, not horribly out of shape, but he likely wasn’t used to breaking a sweat. He was the sort that likely did a fair amount of walking to his destination. His hands were soft, the sort that any person at a desk job would have and he was neatly dressed, even while rumpled. He blinked a few times as he held the teacup in his hands and realized that there had been a consideration of him somehow managing that at all, “A

bloody gator in my car? I should think not.” He shook his head and muttered something that sounded lightly vulgar, but was in another language. Her ran a nervous hand through his hair as he wracked his mind, but there was only one thing that even remotely came to mind, “This… may sound a bit odd… but last night I was working late. You see, I am a researcher with the Historic Voodoo museum and we’d just received a shipment of turn of

the century artifacts from our associates in Baton Rouge. A wonderful collection of items, with a rich history… In with the shipment there were some older books, hand drawn, documenting various… distasteful acts by slave owners… One was… using small african american children as… bait for alligators.” Henry shuddered now as he was suddenly closer to that -history-. “Babies, toddlers… I… only bring it up because…” He

trailed off, leaving the connection unspoken and took a deep breath, “As I was categorizing the artifacts a gentleman found a way into the closed museum. Tall, well dress, gaunt with stringy hair and long nails. I thought he might be eccentric, but he claimed to be taking my job and demanded that I repackage the items. I told him that he was out of line and to leave before I called security, but… well… he commented that we would see

how things stood tonight. Indicating that he’d be speaking with the curator in the morning and that I would indeed be displaced.” Henry paused, not really wanting to add the next bit, but maybe if he framed it in a more plausible light, “He seemed to have some skill with illusion since his eyes appeared to glow and then… he melted into the shadows.” Henry sighed long and slow, “I swear I am not mad.”

■► Cassian ◄■ listened to the man, studying his eyes, his body language and more. He leaned back against the wall and then made an odd act of cracking his knuckles, as if his white fingers were somehow too tight and the cracking brought a peace of sorts to a personw with an overactive brain. “Ah, yes, one of the historical tragedies here…using the slave

children as bait to lure in the alligators.” He was thoughtful. “I had requested the security feeds from last night. Would you like to see them? Also, you seem to be making a suggestion that this man was unusual…. are you sure you have not perhaps been studying too much occult, vodoun sorts of things? Maybe you need a little break.”

<Henry> shifted in discomfort at the cracking sound. It didn’t matter how many times people did that and told him it didn’t hurt. It -sounded- painful. Henry closed his eyes for a moment, “Yes… I would like to see the tapes.” Somehow, he had a feeling that he wouldn’t like what he saw… or didn’t see… on the tapes. He let out a very long breath. It wasn’t exasperated, but more patient, “Sir, simply because you count the occult and

the vodoun religion as unusual, that does not make it any less valid or important to it’s followers and those who practice. There are more things in heaven and earth than can be explained by science alone.” Then he opened his eyes again and waved a hand as if to clarify, “The man, may have seemed unusual, perhaps he was a practitioner of vodoun, perhaps not, but someone clearly knew enough to orchestrate this and enough to rattle my

nerves and make it look plausible.”

■► Cassian ◄■ nods to the man across from him. “So are you saying that you believe in some occult ideas that are not so ‘traditional’ in a modern day sense? At least not popular, for sure in this region, though some voodoo has mixed quite well in with creole beliefs and some hispanic cultures use it as a blend with santeria.”

<Henry> rather disliked where this conversation was going. It sounded like the good doctor was about to whip out a ‘crazy’ sticker and slap it on his forehead at any moment now. Perhaps at another time Henry would have give a more careful answer, “Well, of course I do.” Henry leveled the man a serious look, “How in the bloody hell could I study and respect other religions and practices without being willing to set aside conventional

beliefs? I dare say that I would be a piss poor researcher if I ignored the potency of the subjects around which beliefs and religions were formed.” Henry waved a hand as if this was entirely inconsequential, “Now, don’t get me wrong, I tend towards Catholicism, myself… but honestly, you can not tell me that a gent coming back from the grave after three days, transmuting substances, and walking on water, isn’t occult by the very

definition of the word. I think it would be a rather blatant hubris to believe in all that and dismiss the mysticism of others.”

■► Cassian ◄■ nods. “You bring up a valid point and it is likely why things like Santeria could evolve from Cathollicism and Voodou practices. At any point.. ” He reaches in his jacket inner pocket and pulls out his cell phone. He’d turn it on and then turn it so that Henry could see it as it started to play out a video recording, of Henry’s work

station area.

<Henry> seemed to relax a little bit, rolling the tension out of his shoulders. He was used to having to contest that point much more vigorously. It was a bit of a relief, really. He reached out a hand to take the cell phone and turn it around so that he could get a look at the recording, “Are you certain that I am permitted to see this?” It seemed like it would be part of evidence either way and likely classified.

<Storyteller> Henry could see the video was of, of course, last night, where he was unpacking and cataloging his findings from the crates. Placing this item there, and that one over there…going through the manifesto to match up items, everything seemed to be going normal. Then you can see the camera kind of starts to fuzz out here or there as you see yourself look up from

your manifesto, as if you noticed something odd. The camera seems to continue its strange fuzzing and white noise appearance especially in the area where you know that particular someone else was standing last night. A distorted fuzzy image is all you ever see of the strange long black haired being with ugly yellow long nails and red eyes. There just wasn’t a clear image of him in any part

of the whole time he was present and then after he walks off, the camera video clears up again.

■► Cassian ◄■ “Oh, sure you can see it. I do not see what harm it is going to do. I’m not here to prosecute you.” He waited patiently as Henry was watching the weird scene.

<Henry> Watched keenly, bent over the phone as he watched the scene unfold. His eyebrows furrowed and his lips tightened into a thin line as the video feed began to distort. “What in the name of… bloody Hell.” Henry didn’t know much about video or recording technology, but he knew what was unusual when he saw it and this was not what could be classified as -normal-. Henry very carefully backed the recording up, this time looking for

reflected images in the floor or otherwise, all the while he was very politely cursing under his breath in just about every language he could think of.

<Storyteller> Anything that might have shown what this being was, more than a vague outline just didn’t exist. It was like watching old TV shows where you were not exactly on the right channel but could see some motions within the very annoying distortion.

<Henry> Oh… this was bad. Quite bad… and no one was going to ever bloody well believe him. The colour drained more from his face and very quietly he handed the phone back to the doctor before he cleared his throat, “How many people know that you’ve seen that recording, Sir?” He carefully collected his teacup from where he had set it down and use the warmth as a sort of comfort, “I doubt that you will be so inclined… but I believe

that if would be wisest if you removed that video from your phone and did your best to forget that you have seen it.” There was no reason for someone else to get tied up in this debacle, but he supposed the doctor would need some -valid- reason to do so, “It is heavily frowned upon to carry… evidence on one’s person, I imagine?”

■► Cassian ◄■ seemed amused. Yes, that was indeed the look. His gray/blue eyes were brilliant, so full of life! His face had sort of a smarmy smile to it. He canted his head to the side and then turned off his phone and put it in his pocket again. “It can be highly frowned upon. This is true. I just thought I would show you. After all, you don’t want to remain

here for a minute longer than you have to, right? You will be released soon here as there is no evidence that can hold you here. It is when you are released that you may face some danger, and so I wished to impart it upon you…that you may want some help.”

<Henry> looked confused at the amusement the man seemed to find in this. Maybe he simply enjoyed bending the rules? An impish sort of man? Well, at least -someone- was enjoying this. Henry was beginning to be thankful for the bland food they fed people in here. At least he wouldn’t embarrass himself by being wretchedly ill, “No. I should like to be in my proper home with a warm meal and a cozy bed.” Henry leaned back and shook his head,

“If you are soliciting for a lawyer friend, it will be a waste of their time and it would be best if you forgot that helpful inclination of yours.” Henry sat the tea cup down and leaned forward again, a grim look in his eyes, “You may not hold to these odd beliefs, but I can say with rather bleak certainty that the next time we meet, it will likely be my corpse on that slab of yours.” He narrowed his eyes, meeting those amused eyes, “I

would much rather end up there alone and without company. There is nothing you can do to assist.”

■► Cassian ◄■ reaches once again into his inner coat pocket and pulls out a business card and offers it to Henry. “I do believe I am trying to prevent that, my friend. Should you find yourself being haunted in any way by what you have seen, call me. Perhaps if you are not, you will call me anyway to see this odd little collection that you have acquired. I’d

like to see it for myself to try to understand how one could use it or something else to go and put a gator in your car.” He paused and then his eyes did not seem so amused anymore and his brows even furrowed to show his seriousness. “The young girl who died was kidnapped recently. I’d like to find who was responsible. She was only 3 years old.”

<Henry> Takes the card, flipping it over in his hand to examine it, “I am already haunted by it.” How could he not be? Henry looked up from the card to meet the serious gaze. Now this he could understand. The poor child hadn’t deserved to have her life cut short. Him? He was middle aged and delved into oddities that had attracted attention. The child had just been innocent. For a brief moment Henry was tempted to tell the doctor to let

the police handle things, but… what did he really have to lose and he -knew- the police would have no chance at this crime except to place blame on him or some other patsy. “You… have got to know that the person who perpetrated this crime is exceedingly dangerous, yes?” Well of course he had to, “What if I told you that he… could do things that delved into the realm of the occult and that it wasn’t mere fancy? Would you still want

to do this?” Henry didn’t give him time to answer and just shook his head, “Assuming I am released before the collection is taken, I will take you to it and show you the artifacts and… try to impart some knowledge of the power they might hold, but… I really can’t do anything to keep you safe from him. For that. I am truly sorry.”

■► Cassian ◄■ stood up and smirked and that amusement was back in his gaze that fell upon Henry. “This conversation is between us and I can help you, if you let me. You will be let out shortly, as there really is not much they can hold you on because it is clear by evidence that you did not do this to yourself and there is footage aplenty showing you were at

work during the time of the child’s abduction from her home. You will still be on the list of suspects, of course, but nowhere near the primary number. Call me when you wish to talk and we can discuss more…occult details, so to say.” He gave a curt nod of his head to the man and then gestured to the officer who returned down the hall to let him out. “Have a good night, sir.”

<Henry> Nods his head and looks back down at the business card, “Thank you…” He would stand as Cassian stood and was let out. He wasn’t entirely convinced that the doctor could actually help him, but… it was a very nice sentiment. Hopefully the chap stayed safe and maybe this would all blow over. The card would still be pocketed and the number added to his list of contacts in his cell phone, once it was returned.

<Storyteller> The card read “Dr. Cassian K. Narlanthi, Forensics Consultant and Medical Doctor, ER and Primary Care cert. <insert phone #>, New Orleans, District 9 Clinic.’

<Storyteller> The door opened up and Cassian headed on out of the cell and walked down out of the area with the officer, after the cop re-secured the cell door. A few minutes later, a police officer returned and unlocked the door. “Due to lack of evidence, you are being freed but should not leave the New Orleans area and be able to be contacted at a moment’s notice. You

will likely be questioned again.”

<Storyteller> Another officer walked up with Henry’s folded belongings and would pass them to him so he could get changed.

<Henry> “Of course, thank you officer.” Henry nodded and was certain that they had all his pertinent contact information. He had no intention of leaving New Orleans and was quite cooperative, though clearly happy to be released and permitted to go home. He made short work of changing, adding the Doctor’s name and number to his phone. He’d take a cab home since his own car was likely never to be seen again, but he didn’t care about the

inconvenience. It was evidence in the murder of a young child. How could he complain about inconvenience in light of that? He was however, planning on a shave and a warm bath when he got home. Maybe some classical music and a cheesy romance novel to take his mind off this nightmare. He’d have to deal with whatever was awaiting him at work tomorrow, assuming he was still employed, and try to convince a crazy man that he wasn’t worth

killing.

<Storyteller> At this point, yeah, the car was definitely impounded as it was evidence to a murder. Whatever this man had said about having your position at work…you’d find out it was not really true the next day when you’d get back to your place of employment. The museum curator was pretty confused about all that.

Jacob was abjectly relieved to not have lost his job. Maybe it was all a coincidence and the man and murder were not related. Maybe he’d just been paranoid. After explaining to the curator what had happened he’d be back to his regular work and trying to make up for lost time. He still needed to catalogue those items and deal with wahtever emails had filtered in for him… as well as mail. It would be another late night, but -this- time

Henry would be more careful and ensure all the doors were locked at close and have security walk him to his cab when he was finished.

<Storyteller> the curator would put up another security officer to roam by you more when you worked to make sure things were going to be okay. That night seemed to go mostly uneventful though you could swear now and then you heard the sound of a frightened girl crying.

<Henry> given what had happened to the last child, Henry would go on a bit of a wander to see if he could find the source of the noise. Still, if he couldn’t find it he’d pull out his phone and give it a long look as if he couldn’t make his mind up. Then he’d curse to himself And type out a reluctant message to the doctor, “This is Henry, from the other night. Forgive the intrusion, but you wouldn’t happen to know if another young girl

has gone missing?”

<Storyteller> You wander to see where the voice was coming from. It was hard to pinpoint but after a while you come to one of the books and it sounds like it is coming from one of those…which contains Creole Vodoun, it says. The muffled crying seems to be coming from inside it.

<Henry> looks at the book with a look of trepidation, “Bloody He’ll…> He takes a moment to dry wash his face with a hand and then sets the book carefully on a work space and carefully begins to examine the pages.

■► Cassian ◄■ sent a text back, just as you were coming to find out that the book was the noise source. <txt> Yes, there is a search for her now.

<Storyteller> You take down the book and set it on a work space, tenderly and carefully opening the book, going through the page leaves, and as you do so, you begin to feel really eerie.

<Storyteller> As you leaf through the pages, you come to a specific page where there is a little black girl sitting in a zoo kind of cell/fenced in area. In back of her, you can see a few lions inching their way up to her.

<Henry> pauses at the alert from his and glances at it for a moment and mutters another curse, but before he can reply he turns the page and is face to face with the image of the girl and lions. Henry pales in realization and grabs the phone to dial Cassian. There was no way they were going to find the child in time. She was dead or soon to be dead… unless. That book had power, it didn’t matter that Jacob didn’t. It didn’t matter that

he didn’t have the ability to work vodoun rituals or magic. If the items here were already the tools of a practitioner he might be able to do something to save the child. He grabbed black salt from a display nearby and a pouch of powder that was made from various plants to cause paralysis. The book was a connection of some sort. Jacob grabbed the make shift surgical kit and sliced his thumb to release blood and mixed it with the black

salt. Black salt was for protection and warding. Vodoun was about life and death. Power and sacrifice. When the phone picked up Henry didn’t hesitate, “The Audubon zoo, the lion cage…. or anywhere else there are bloody lions! He’s going to feed her to them!” At the same time the almost brutally smeared the blood and salt in an angry red line between the girl and the creeping lions, switching to Creole on the phone to utter a chant of

protection and offering his sacrifice of blood. Then he grabbed the bag of paralysis herbs and did much the same, mixing them with his blood as an offering and smeared an angry line across the lions. It was a long shot… but if this book and these tools held power… it was all Henry could offer the girl. Maybe affecting the book would span the connection.

■► Cassian ◄■ ‘s voice responded and didn’t even bother asking how you knew. “I will head there now.” He’d then disconnect.

<Storyteller> As you do your offering of blood to try to protect the little girl in the picture, you see the spirit of a black woman appear, who has a net over her hair that was held back by being in solid dreadlocks. She was wearing a maid’s apron and black dress, though it seemed the dress was worn and old. Her features were very dark but also very sad and confused. She

looked at Henry, studying him and spoke softly <Creole> “Ya must go ta her.”

<Henry> had never actually seen a spirit or an apparition before, but he didn’t need to be told twice, “Yes mum.” Was all he hurriedly offered as he grabbed the book, stuffed it in his satchel and ran for the exit. God only knew what he could do against hungry lions, but if it took a larger sacrifice than blood, he’d pay it. He didn’t want another child dead on his account. The zoo wasn’t far, but a cab would take too long. He wasn’t

athletic enough to run there. He opted for a middle ground, running as he tried to hail a cab. How would he get into the closed zoo, let alone a lion enclosure… well, he hadn’t thought that far ahead.

<Storyteller> You eventually get a cab, as breathless as you were and they would drop you off where you would indicate, though the zoo was closed. They’d even drop you off right at the entrance if that was what you wanted. At the zoo, it was quiet out, though off in the distance within you could hear the sounds of some monkeys chittering annoyingly and maybe..the sound of a

lion growling.

<Henry> would practically throw money at the cab driver as he flung himself from the cab and looked at the close zoo. For the briefest of moments he considered turning back. There was no way he could get in without being caught on camera and ending up alerting every authority on the planet to his break and enter crime…. but maybe that wasn’t a bad thing. Still, what the hell was he going to do about lions?!? He didn’t even own a gun!

Those thoughts didn’t slow him though as he eyed the chainlink fence with the barbed wire along the top. Yeah… regrets were going to be had later. It took him a few tries, but he managed to toss his jacket over the unforgiving wire and then began to scale the fence and scramble over the top as best he could. Librarians were not made for this sort of thing.

<Storyteller> As you look into the gates, you see figures within shadows…as if the shadows themselves were moving and as they were, you can make out way down the path a figure with long silver hair and a trenchcoat, walking along. The shadows seem to flit around working on catching up with the person. Then you see him stop before a fence and he hops up and over it, disappearing

on the other side. It was also such an effortless leap. The shadows seem to move after him rapidly, hissing and making weird sounds of fury.

<Henry> There were times in life that Henry had the sinking gut feeling of nothing good coming from something. This… was one of those times as he reached down for a large stone and started running towards them. Because what the hell else was he going to do against… shadows… bloody hell. Henry came up short and lobbed the rock at one of the hissing shadows as he yelled, “Oi! Over here you bloody git! Why don’t you chew on me!”

Yes… this was not his best plan, but he’d be damned if they could get at the guy that might have a chance of saving the girl, “You don’t want him, I’m far more entertaining.” Which he hoped wasn’t true, but he could at least be a distraction and alert the doctor at the same time.

<Storyteller> Well, maybe that was a good idea and maybe it wasn’t. If you meant to save your own life, it probably wasn’t, but would it save the girl…just maybe! The strange spirit shadows moved and turned around heading toward you, and it looked like there were quite a few of them…maybe at least 20 of them, scurrying along the ground. They sounded, as they drew nearer,

as if they had claws on their shadowy appendages that scratched against the ground.

<Storyteller> Off down the way the man went, you hear a young girl scream in panic and lions growling very angrily. Some scuffle was going on over there…but your concern at the moment also had to do with your own life preservation, no? The shadows moved toward you and they were fast.

<Henry> “Oh…. Bloody Hell.” Henry had managed something at least. A girl would hopefully be saved and her and the doctor could get out of here. Not a bad price for a life. There was some comfort in that as Henry turned to scramble into a run. A flat out run, as if the hounds of Hell were on his heals. And they might as well be. He couldn’t fight shadows, he couldn’t outrun them, all he could do was try and buy time…. and still… he

didn’t want to die. Every fibre of his being told him to run. Too soon he’d find himself panting and spent, not used to running, and stumbling for a bright light under a wall as he spun to put his back to it. He didn’t have any regrets and as he watched the shadows closing in it was with an eerie calm, “I hope you burn in Hell, you Bloody Bastards.”

<Storyteller> Henry ran his legs off and would end up beneath the light of a street lamp. It seemed to be growing colder and colder as the darkness closed in. The shadows seemed to absorb the light itself, making visibility beyond his own face an impossibility after just a few seconds, it seemed. The shadows encroached and he could feel prickles against his skin, as if he

were being cut by razor blades. Blood oozed from him, feeding unseen servants of darkness perhaps, or at least that is what it seemed like. Could he feel tiny tongues dancing along freshly cut wounds along his body? Whatever it was he felt, they weren’t human, that was for sure. The darkness even seemed to muffle the sound of his own voice, as he was being dragged away from the light of

the lamp into …somewhere he couldn’t see.

<Henry> screamed. At least he was fairly certain he screamed a shrill noise of terror as the shadows muffled his voice and darkness enveloped him. He tried to strike out, unwilling to give up even as he was dragged off. Kicking, hitting, trying to wretch away from the prickling sensations and the tongues lapping at his blood. This was a wretched way to die and Henry felt pure terror at this nightmare.

<Storyteller> The shadows moved about his form, roaming, taking from him what blood they seemed to want to feed them, rolling him over and over possibly in the air even, and then they screeched and seemed to withdraw as light seeped in and your weary weak form would hit the ground hard. Your heartbeat was so intense, desperate to find more blood to pump. It was severely

lacking and beginning to beat off tempo. Your breathing…oh right, you needed to still do that. There were lights off in the background somewhere…reds and blues. Your addled brain could still tell they were coming from near the zoo, which you had ran away from.

<Henry> would struggle to the last breath if he had to. The sudden light and sharp bruising impact with the ground hurt and drove the air from his lungs. His glasses broke? Perhaps his nose from the impact, he didn’t care. Breathing was difficult and he laboured at it even as he tried to force his weak limbs to support himself. The effort to stand was useless, it was like the strength was gone from his legs. He tried to crawl, but his

body was too heavy. Still there was the effort to drag himself along the ground as impotent as it must look. He was simply fuelled by the desire to -get away-, but in a few moments his strength just left him and he lay on the ground struggling for each breath with the resolution to survive. One more breath. Just one more breath, was his silent mantra. If any came near he’d try to feebly strike out at them with heavy limbs, but it really

wouldn’t accomplish much.

<Storyteller> It was so hard to see, to feel much at all, but he could feel someone kneeling by him and then his body being lifted up from the ground, carried as if he were a child. Blackouts happened aplenty before he would weakly wake up, feeling the heart beat so loudly, still pounding in desperation for blood that just wasn’t there. He was set on the ground again, this

time, as his eyes came into focus, he was in some old brick building that was probably a dilapitated factory that had been closed for so very long. He could make out the long white hair and gleaming eyes of the doctor.

■► Cassian ◄■ ‘s voice was soft but carried well enough. “You are going to die before I can get you somewhere to treat you, unless I help you in a non-conventional way.”

<Henry> tried to cling to consciousness, but he couldn’t fight the darkness that kept tugging him down and he let himself be limply carried. He no longer had the strength to fight. The hard surface at his back drew him out of the darkness once more and he forced his soft brown eyes settled on the Doctor. It was so much effort to speak, so very hard to find any strength to move. His fingers twitched as if he wanted to reach for the

doctor, his voice was weak and trembling, but he had to ask, “t-the…. g-girl…” He had to know if she lived, if she’d survived. His mind was muddled, but that was what this was for, wasn’t it? He had to save the child, “I… don.. n’t… w-want…” Jacob paused, trying to force himself to breathe more, to gain more breath, “to.. die…”

■► Cassian ◄■ “The girl is alive and well, thanks to you.” He’d confirm it with a nod and brush poor Henry’s hair back. “If you want to live you will have to drink of my blood. It is the only way now. Of course…then I become responsible for you and what you know. You will owe me for it. It is the way of things.”

<Henry> heaved a long relieved sigh as he exhaled and stilled. That was what mattered, the reason he’d ran here like an idiot. It might seem like he had given up on the laborious task of breathing, but after what was probably too long to be comfortable, he forced in another labored breath as his heart continued to struggle. He didn’t have enough left in him to speak again, but there was the subtle nod of his head, in assent and

understanding. After all this? What was a debt or drinking blood? Aside from really creepy, but there wasn’t really time to ask and what had he got to lose?

■► Cassian ◄■ drew out a knife and then cut along his wrist. Blood pooled up but didn’t really leak out of the wound. It was as if he had total control of it. He’d bring his wrist to Henry’s lips. “Drink then. You will feel better soon.”

<Henry’s> eyes watched the man slit his wrist. This had to be a hallucination. The doctor should be bleeding profusely. He would think about that later, maybe. It was too much effort to think right now. He didn’t even have the energy to lift his head and was at the mercy of Cassian bringing the blood to him. He’d laugh at the irony if he had the ability. This was the weirdest blood transfusion ever. His face twisted in a grimace as he

parted his lips and closed them over the wound to drink slowly, it was the best he could manage. He never did like the coppery metallic taste of blood.

<Storyteller> Cassian lifted up Henry’s head to make it easier for him to drink and bring his wrist to Henry’s lips. As Henry would drink, the blood came out to his sips and nothing was seemingly lost to waste and hit the ground. That was the really weird thing about this all… The vitae was like the best thing ever tasted. The finest wine. It warmed you as it hit your tongue

and when you swallowed it…it was life and energy. Your heart drummed in your ears but this seemed to placate it and yet you would want more. You’d feel dizzy and then your eyes would clear up so you could see so clearly, distinct features about you, and then you’d go dizzy again. The vitae was really fucking awesome.

<Henry>Had expected a metallic tang, maybe to die anyways and then maybe have his body used in some vodoun ritual. The red liquid that touched his tongue was like ambrosia. Energy filled his veins and slowly his hand was able to move to grasp hold of the arm that was feeding him. It was weak at first, Henry’s body trembling at the effort as his limbs slowly regained strength. His vision swam and cleared, his mind was sharp and yet felt

dull and useless. He wanted more, more than he was likely to be given as he drank the vitae into his body.

■► Cassian ◄■ let him drink to a certain extent and then, despite the strength Henry had to hold his arm there, Cassian managed to pull it away and seal the wound on his wrist. “You have had enough, Henry. You should rest. Close your eyes and you will feel so much better in an hour or two.”

<Henry> groaned as the wrist was pulled away. Part of him wanted to go after it, but the stronger part of him knew, somehow, that Cassian was right. His vision still seemed to swim and his heart still raced. He felt less on the verge of death, but still weak and struggling to an extend. He groaned and closed his eyes as he let his head fall back to the cold floor, “What… are you…”Henry asked softly as a gentler darkness tugged at

him.

■► Cassian ◄■ “I am a vampire, you’d say. Sleep, my friend. We will talk when you awaken.”

<Henry> Made a noise that sounded like he understood or maybe it was simply an exhale of breath as he sank into that blessed and comforting darkness.

<Storyteller> aaaand you sleep. As you rest, you feel at one point that you are trapped in utter darkness, and then there is a glimmer of light far off.

<Henry> The darkness isn’t alarming until he realizes that he’s trapped and fumbling in the dark without direction. There is panic and fear. Henry was not a brave man, far from it and his conscious mind began scrambling and grasping for the light, trying to pull himself towards it. He was dying. He remembered dying very clearly. He couldn’t die. He didn’t want to die!

<Storyteller> You make your way to the light and find out after traveling for a while…that you come to a candle burning green flame.

<Henry> Well that was… odd. Was he dead, was this the afterlife? It was a little anticlimactic. Carefully, Henry leans down to examine the unusual candle and flame. He reaches out a testing finger to see if it was indeed hot. Was this some form of test?

<Storyteller> the flame was indeed hot, and weird.. it felt rather…for lack of a better word, corrupt.

<Henry> Made a slight face and drew his hand away to look about the darkness, “Hello? Is there anyone else here?” He felt very much alone and he wasn’t particularly keen on the corrupted flame, even if it was light.

<Storyteller> “Yah, I am here”, said the voice of a young girl with a heavy creole accent.