Maurice Ch. 02bykalamazoo707©
I looked outside, it as going to be a beautiful but very hot and humid day. I wondered what Regina and her cousin Annie had planned for the day. I also hoped that Regina wasn't in too much distress because of the holes that I had left in the memory that I planted. I decided to start my inquiries about 1989 this morning, I knew that there wouldn't be any of my kind out unless they were like me or half human-yes there are a few like that but as I think I mentioned, there are other types of beings that live here.
I took a shower, something else that I really don't have to do but that I enjoy just as I do driving and I get dressed. I choose casual wear because I don't want to be conspicuous and who knows what I'm going to run into? Just like in the human world, we have our problems with drugs (the selling of), slavery-(more people go missing in this city than any other), murders, gangs and turf wars. Am I worried? No I'm not. Why? Because like Baron, others tend to underestimate me because of my appearance but even so, I can kick some serious ass and not break a sweat. I am well aware that I sound quite full of myself but I am only stating fact.
I looked at my balding head and thought again about just shaving it off, as it stood now, I looked older than the forty-one that I was supposed to be in human years. I made a snap decision, I was going with the bald look, what could it hurt? I called for Olivia who came in no time flat. What is my relationship to her? What you really want to know is if I'm fucking her. Not that it's any of your business but the answer is no, Olivia is.... How can I say this? Different and that's all I'm going to say about her other than she's one hell of a servant.
I told her what I wanted and in a few minutes, my head was completely bald. It took me several minutes to make the adjustment but when I did, I decided that I liked it; it took away from that Benjamin Franklin look. I actually looked younger.
"What do you think?" I asked Olivia.
"I like it sire, you have such a nicely shaped head." she replied.
"Nicely sh..... Never mind." I said as I ran a hand over my bald head. "I am going out and I want you to do something for me while I'm gone."
"Go online and see if anything stranger than usual here happened in 1989. Check for missing persons especially women and if you can use some of your contacts and see if they know anything." I was about to leave when I remembered something else. "Also check into that convent where the windows are boarded up. Put your report on my desk."
Olivia can find her way around the internet even better than I can and it's because she has the patience and she loves doing the research. I would be surprised if she told me that she hadn't found anything because as I said, the woman is a whiz on the computer and she does have a few contacts that I don't have.
The day is already hot and humid but that doesn't bother me. The question that I am asking myself is where to start and how do I want to get there. Traffic is relatively light but then there is the parking issue, walking would take care of a variety of things and I can vanish or fly of I choose so walking it is. As to where I start, I think I'll go to the alley; someone or something may be there.
Annie and I ate breakfast in silence. I know what she's thinking; she's thinking that I should go to the hospital for a rape kit. I won't go because I wasn't raped or molested in anyway. I'm not going to tell her that I don't remember where I went with the man from the group or how I even came to be in bed; she'd want me to go for an MRI or CT scan.
I want to leave and go anyplace but here. Even now in the daylight I'm scared. I know that if I could figure out what happened in 1989 I might feel better but I don't want to remember. What do I remember? I remember being so excited to be going on vacation. We had never gone on vacation as a family before and we all saved our allowances so we would have spending money. There were three of us and I was the oldest of the three, my brothers Daniel and Edward were considerably less excited about the trip than I was. They were worried about their girlfriends finding new boyfriends while they were gone.
Why did we pick New Orleans? I don't really remember, isn't that strange? I can remember everything about getting ready for the trip except for why we chose to come here. I can still remember being packed the week before we were going to leave and counting and recounting the money that I had saved for the trip. 100.00 dollars that I made from baby sitting and selling some of my clothes that I no longer needed or wore. I even remember setting my alarm clock for 3:00 AM because we were leaving at five.
Mom and dad were already up, I could hear them talking downstairs and I could smell the coffee as it brewed. Mom was probably packing up the sandwiches that I helped her make the night before and dad was already loading the car, he had insisted that we have our luggage by the front door the evening before. Daniel and Edward were still in bed and wouldn't get up until the last minute meaning 4:15, it would give them enough time to get in the shower and get dressed just before we pulled out.
The closer to the time it came to leave came, the more the time seemed to slow down and then suddenly, it was time to go. The date? Saturday June 3, 1989 two days before my fifteenth birthday and that made the trip that much more special, I would be on vacation for my birthday. We would be gone for almost two weeks, something else that was new, we were never away from home for more than a night and that was a rare occurrence.
Now that I'm thinking about it, there are so many things that didn't seem strange at the time but they seem strange now. Like what? The trip itself and how I don't remember how we selected New Orleans, the length of time that we were gone and where the money for the trip came from. My parents were working class people; a two week vacation was a fantasy that we had all talked about ever since I can remember. Where had that money come from? I remember now, it was a prize that my mother won from her job, no, that's not right. Her employers, that's it, her employers gave her the money for....something....why in the hell can't I remember?
I took my time walking to the alley, I was in no particular hurry so I window shopped and stopped for a cup of coffee. I finally got to the alley where Baron and I fought over Regina, there was no one there but I decided to wait for a while.
I had been waiting for about an hour when the first being that I was going to talk to showed up. He didn't see me at first as he was looking in front of him but I recognized him for what he was, a minor demon probably out doing some task for his master.
"Good morning!" I said startling him.
He turned around to see who had spoken to him. He didn't speak but watched me warily, it was clear that he knew what I was but not who. I sat not moving until the demon relaxed slightly, I took a sip of my coffee and looked around, if this demon knew something, then I didn't want others to know that he had spoken to me.
"What is your name?" I asked.
"M...Mortimer." he replied nervously.
"Don't be afraid, I only want to talk to you." I said still not moving.
"Were you here in 1989?" I asked.
"I was here." he replied nervously.
"Did anything unusual happen in the supernatural world that year?" I asked.
"No," he said a little too quickly.
"Are you certain? You answered very quickly." I replied.
Before I knew it, he was gone. Inadvertently he had answered my question, something had happened that year and Regina was either a part of it or saw something that she shouldn't have seen. I also knew something else; she was in a great deal of danger but from whom?
I didn't want to leave the room but Annie had paid for a cooking class of some kind. That seemed harmless enough so I went. As we walked to the class, I looked around. I had the feeling that I was being watched but I didn't see anyone, that it might be a something didn't occur to me. I decided that I was just being paranoid and tried to have a good time for Annie's sake.
It turned out that I really enjoyed the cooking class, Annie and I each bought the kit that had a cookbook which the teacher signed and some spices that included real vanilla. Because we got to eat what was cooked, we didn't have to buy lunch. That afternoon we took the river cruise which I loved, I've always found the water relaxing even though I don't swim. I closed my eyes and blocked out the voice of the man talking about the land marks only opening them and listening when he mentioned the 9th ward and hurricane Katrina. To be honest with you, I could have stayed on that boat for the whole day, it was the only place other than my room that I can say that I felt totally safe.
After the boat tour, Annie wanted to go to the casino, I'm not much of a gambler but I figured what the hell? It would be nice to win enough to pay for this trip and have a little extra for a nice dinner at a really fancy place. We caught a cab to 'Harrah's' and walked in. Annie's eyes lit up at the sound of the slot machines and the bright flickering lights, I happened to look at her and felt a stab of fear. For just a second, I wasn't looking at Annie's eyes, it had to be my imagination I thought to myself, it was just the lighting.
"Reggie? You alright?" Annie asked.
"I'm fine." I replied relaxing, I was just seeing things.
We walked around the casino for several minutes before deciding to stop and play. Annie chose a game called 'angels and devils' that gave me the creeps. She wanted me to play the one next to her but I just couldn't make myself sit down at that machine. I made up some excuse and walked off feeling better the further away from the machine I got that was until I passed one that had something to do with vampires.
As soon as I saw it, my heart began to pound and I began to shake. I started to back away from it and backed into an extremely tall man. I turned to excuse myself and wished that I hadn't, his eyes were a bright green like those of a cat but that wasn't the problem, they were glowing and I don't mean like... I don't know what I mean but it wasn't normal. I backed away from him and went in the opposite direction not caring that it would take me past the vampire slot machines. I kept walking until I reached the far end of the aisle, I turned around to see him still standing there and watching me.
I looked around for Annie and found her ten minutes later playing a dollar machine and winning.
"Look at that!" she said excitedly.
She was up by seven-hundred dollars but then she was usually lucky.
"I guess that fancy dinners on me." she said as she pushed the button and won another fifty dollars.
I really wanted to leave but I hated to break her winning streak, I would never hear the end of it so I proposed that I go back to the room and that we go for dinner whenever she got back. Annie was so engrossed in winning that I had to make sure that she heard me.
"I heard you." she said rather irritably. "I'll see you later."
I checked to see if the tall green-eyed man was anywhere around and made my way to the front where I caught a cab back to the hotel. I made my way to the room and locked myself in, other than the boat this was the other place in which I felt safe. I found myself trying to figure out a way to stay in the room until we had to leave and came up empty handed. I could say that I was sick and that might work for a day or two but after that, Annie would take me to the ER. But a day or two was better than nothing I decided as I took off my clothes and put on my house robe and slippers. I just had to come up with an illness that Annie wouldn't question.
I sat on the bed and turned on the television ready to relax when the hotel phone rang. I frowned wondering who could possibly be calling me. I answered the phone to hear a familiar voice.
"Regina? This is Maurice Delgado. How are you?"
The man from last night but why was he calling me?
"I'm fine thanks." I replied not knowing what else to say.
"Good, I am pleased to hear that." he said. "I am close to your hotel and was wondering if you would join me for a cup of coffee?"
"I appreciate the offer but I just got in and I'm whipped." I said hoping that he'd take the hint.
"I see, how about dinner this evening? Have you tried our red beans and rice?"
"No, I haven't but Mr. Delgado..."
"Maurice if you please." he interrupted.
"Maurice." I said and then started again. "Thank you for the invitation but my cousin and I have plans for dinner."
"She is more than welcome to join us, shall we say six? I will wait for you down in the lobby." he said and then hung up.
I stared at the phone, the arrogant little jerk! I would have called him back if I had a way to reach him but either way, I wasn't leaving this room. When I thought about it, the number of the hotel room that I stayed in was 415, it took me a minute to realize that this was the same hotel and the same room but it was redone. How could I not remember that? There was another thing; my mother told me that her employers wanted me to have a room to myself since it was going to be my birthday. When we checked in, I was supposed to be in room 416 but I liked my brother's room better and they actually agreed to switch with me. My parents tried to get us to switch back but we refused, at the time, I didn't think too much of it but now I'm beginning to wonder about a lot of things.
It's been twenty -two years since I've been here and not once in those twenty-two years have I questioned that trip but now it seemed important that I know what happened here, why the thought of vampires terrify me and what it is about this room that makes me feel safe. I think that being here is causing some memories to come back but not enough that I can figure out what's going on.
My brothers, something about my brothers, they came here with us but.... When I tried to remember, a sharp pain went through my head. I sat on the bed and tried to breathe through the pain, something happened to my brothers here. But what? Another pain went through my head, this one sharper than the last. It looked like I wouldn't have to make up an excuse not to go out tonight.
I thought about my brothers again and my head pounded, I tried to remember when I had spoken to them last. Just last week, they called to wish me an early happy birthday. They said that they couldn't make it back to the states in time and that they would be going to some undisclosed location. I jumped up; my birthday was in two days, this it can't be a coincidence. I mean the last time I was here was on my birthday and I'm here again for another birthday. That has to mean something although what escapes me. As soon as I stopped thinking about my brothers and why I was here, the pain in my head disappeared. I lay down, closed my eyes and went to sleep.
Annie came in around five-thirty 1200.00 richer and woke me up.
"Why aren't you dressed?" she asked. "Our dinner date is waiting downstairs."
"Dinner date? What dinner date? I asked.
"Maurice Delgado, he said he talked to you about taking us to dinner tonight." Annie said as she stripped so that she could take a quick shower.
"Annie, why don't you go?" I suggested. "I really don't feel too good."
"What's wrong?" she asked concerned as she felt my forehead. "You don't have a fever; maybe you need a good dinner so get up and get dressed."
"Come on! Chop chop lets go!"
I didn't want to go but I was forced into it. I redressed and waited for Annie to get ready. I want to go home.
I waited in the alley to see if anyone else showed up, a few other beings showed up but none of them had been here in 1989. After they left, I took my leave and started walking; it came to me that I needed to make contact with Regina. I had to mark her in some way, it would protect her from all of the lesser beings, give most of the higher beings pause and it would only tell those who were master vampires and demons that she belonged to me. Theoretically, she should be off limits once marked but as we all know things don't always work the way that they're supposed to and there is this- she was pulled back her for a reason and whatever happened back then predates my mark.
After a while I end up at the Royal Sonesta where Regina and her cousin Annie are staying. I called up to the room and was pleasantly surprised when Regina answered the phone. I fully expected her to decline my dinner invitation but I am not one who easily accepts the answer "no". I asked at the desk if both ladies were in using compulsion to get an honest answer. Both ladies left but only one of them came back, I asked for a description of the one who came back and knew it to be Regina. After thanking the hotel personnel, I called Regina. She tried to decline dinner but I wouldn't allow it. I knew that she would plan not to show so I waited for Annie to come in.
"Annie, I am Maurice Delgado, we met last evening."
"Oh sure, you're the one who took Reggie out for coffee last night." she replied.
"Reggie?" I asked.
"Regina, I call her Reggie."
"I see." I replied. I hated the nickname and it would never be used by me. "I spoke with Regina this afternoon and invited the two of you to join me for dinner at six. Did she not mention it?" I asked knowing damn well that she hadn't.
"No she didn't. I'm sorry about that, she should have called me. And yes six is perfect; we'll see you in a half hour."
I watched as Annie rushed toward the elevator. I knew that if anyone could get Regina out of the room it would be her. I had just settled in to wait when I sensed one of my kind in the hotel lobby. As I mentioned before, I try to interact as little as possible with others of my kind but I sensed that this one wanted to speak with me.
I walked over to him and looked up at him and waited for him to speak.
"What in the hell are you doing here?" he hissed.
"Do you mean here or do you mean in New Orleans? I asked.
"Both!" he snapped.
"I find it curious that you are just now questioning my presence especially since I have been in New Orleans for several months." I said ignoring the vampire's tone. "So why are you just now saying something?"
He seemed to have no real answer which told me something, he was working for someone else.
"Who are you working for?" I asked.
He didn't answer me but issued what I took to be a warning.
"Stay away from things that don't concern you."
"Are you talking about Regina?" I asked not really expecting an answer but getting one.
"That and other things." he replied.
I grew tired of the game and wanted a straight answer.
"Who sent you?" I asked and gave a mental push. Yes I can compel other vampires with the exception of those who were equal or close to my standing. I had just learned something else, whoever sent this vampire had no idea of what I could do. It he did, he wouldn't have chosen this one to give me a message, he would have found another way to communicate with me.
"I was sent by....."
"Oh look! There he is!" I heard from behind me. "Maurice! We're ready!" Annie called out.
"Who sent you?" I asked urgently hoping that the vampire would answer quickly.
"Maurice!" Annie called out again but her voice was closer.
"Tell me now!" I demanded.
"You brought a friend for me? How nice!" Annie said looking at the vampire.
"Ah no." I said. "He was just leaving." I said as I pushed the vampire toward the door.
I fully expected him to haul ass but he didn't. He turned toward Annie, took her hand in his and kissed the back of it. Annie twittered like a schoolgirl as the vampire further ingratiated himself with her.