Blood and Silver
Absalom Dragomir, head of the Dragomir crime family. A name well known throughout the criminal underworld, though most cannot associate a face with it. Depending on who you asked, the name’s owner was either a tyrant or a visionary. His organization was one of the youngest in Netempus, yet it had grown with astounding speed. In a short time, Absalom became one of the most feared family heads in the city. Many attributed this to Absalom’s charismatic yet brutal nature.
Sitting across from this man was Sophie Dragomir, formerly Sophie Cruxius. Between the two stood an ornate coffee table. A marble statuette depicting a man kissing another on the cheek acted as the table’s centerpiece. Next to it sat two glasses and a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. One glass was half-full while the other sat empty. Absalom took a sip of whiskey before sitting his glass back down.
“Do tell,” said Absalom, breaking the silence, “Why exactly is taking the Cruxius family down so difficult?”
“Because of their emergency system,” responded Sophie, proceeding to explain the “code crimson” system. Absalom stroked his beard as he listened.
“I see. In that case, what do you plan to do?” He inquired.
“I was able to locate the hideouts of a few Cruxius members in my time there,” responded Sophie. She listed off the names of the Cruxius members she knew the location of.
“Excellent,” exclaimed Absalom, “I can feel the situation leaning ever so closer in our favor”
“That’s one way of putting it”
A cat’s grin spread across Sophie’s face. Seeing it reminded Absalom of something that didn’t sit right with him.
“Sophie, dear,” began Absalom, “When you left us all those years ago, you did so of your own conviction,”
Absalom picked up his glass and began to swirl it. The sound of ice tapping against the glass pierced through the room’s silence.
“When you found a new home, they welcomed you open arms. They gave you money, power, even new blood”
He stopped swirling the glass and stared into Sophie’s eyes.
“Yet you threw that family away for your old one”
She continued to smile.
“What of it?” She asked.
“I know you didn’t come back for me, for this building, or because you felt nostalgic” said Absalom.
“You came back because we had something you wanted”
His accusatory stare came to a deadlock against Sophie’s nonchalant expression.
“Is it really so hard to believe that I just wanted to see my dear father again?” asked Sophie. Absalom’s expression remained unwavering.
“Though if I had to say what a perk of coming back was,” she said, “It would probably be that you have much greater ambition than the Cruxius family ever had”
“I see. Then you truly are my daughter”. Absalom pointed towards the coffee table’s centerpiece.
“Do you know why I chose this a the centerpiece for this table?”
“Can’t say I do,”
“I chose it because it reminds me that betrayal can come from anyone, in the form of the simplest of actions,”
Absalom took a sip of whiskey.
“If you wish to associate yourself with me, at least understand that much”
Shortly afterwards, Absalom dismissed her. As he sat alone, he pondered the conversation. He knew there were deeper ambitions influencing Sophie. The fact that she chose her words carefully was plain to see. But in a way, it comforted Absalom, for he had done the same his entire life.
“She truly is my daughter”
• • •
A few days had passed since Nadia took residence in the van. The taxi had already been removed from the parking garage. Atop the desk inside the van was a game of solitaire. Nadia was next to the man she had kidnapped, making preparations for her dinner. The man was conscious, but he dared not struggle. In a few short days, his expressions had grown despondent.
Nadia had a set of tubes connected to both of her fangs. The tubes conjoined and led to a can with a biohazard sign roughly sketched onto it. After setting this device up, Nadia began to drink the bagged blood through a straw. As she did, a clear liquid began to flow down into the can. This liquid was known as vampiric essence. It was the byproduct of the blood drinking process. It consisted of parts of blood that were filtered out mixed with some of Nadia’s own DNA. If enough of it entered a human’s bloodstream, they would become a vampire.
Once Nadia had finished her meal, she removed the device from her canines. She then disconnected the device from the can. Nadia threw away the bag the blood had been in and set the can and the tubes in the bottom drawer of her filing cabinet. She then headed back to play a few more games of solitaire. After a while, Nadia’s phone began to ring.
“Lady Nadia, I gave urgent news,” was the first thing she heard when she answered the phone. The voice belonged to Kayla, one of Nadia’s servants tasked with communication. Her voice had signs of distress.
“What is it?”
“I’ve been unable to contact a number of other Cruxius members”. Kayla proceeded to name the members she was unable to contact.
“I was contacted by one of Felicia’s communication agents,” she added, “They had found her dead in her own hideout”. A frightening possibility came to Nadia’s mind.
“We aren’t sure, but it’s possible that all the other—“
“No,” interrupted Nadia, “I am absolutely certain that everyone you’ve named have already been attacked. In fact, I know who all is going to be targeted next”. Nadia was able to say this because she knew the connection all of those Cruxius members and Sophie: she contacted all of them through the same servant. It was also the servant that Nadia contacted her through.
“Kayla, I need you to tell Mia, Emily, and Ava that Sophie is aware of their hideout’s location. After you’re done with that I need you to the other servants that I am moving the location of my hideout. I’ll call you once I find a new one. I’m counting on you”
“Right away, Lady Nadia”
As soon as Kayla hung up, Nadia picked up her bag and began packing things. Among other things, she put the phone, the wireless device, her deck of cards, her eating equipment—except for the IV machine—firearms, and ammunition into her bag. After she finished packing, Nadia took a silenced handgun off the wall. Without a second of hesitation, she executed the man she had kidnapped. She put the gun back on the wall.
The last thing Nadia picked up before leaving was a brown, square package with an electrical timer rigged to it, some wires, and an electric scale. She took these things and her bag and headed out the door. Before she closed the door behind her, Nadia hooked the wires up to the scale and the package’s “timer”. She then closed the door, wedging the scale where the door closed. She also left the package inside the van.
After setting that up, Nadia began to run. She knew she couldn’t stay in one place for too long. Luckily for her, it was the middle of night, so she had plenty of time to find temporary shelter. Even so, Nadia dared not stop for a moment. Time was of the essence. When she exited the parking garage, she immediately turned into the nearest alleyway. Nadia reached the other side of the alley in a few seconds. The street she came to was sparsely, so she was able to cross without hesitation. Nadia continued to go through alleyways and cross streets, nearing closer to her destination .
• • •
“Everyone good to go?” Asked a man in the front seat of a van. He was speaking to several people in the back of the van.
“Of course we’re good to go, dumbass!” one of them retorted, “Who do you take us for!?”. They were all wearing identical clothing and carried automatic firearms. The clothing itself consisted of black pants, black hoodies, bandanna’s to cover their faces, and pitch-black shades. The two in the front seats of the van were dressed the same. The only variety amongst them was the tone of their skin.
The van was in good condition and had a white paint job. It was currently driving down a zig-zagging path, avoiding the city’s main roads. It was followed by three identical vans, each carrying more identically dressed and armed men. After driving down their complicated path for a while, the vans split up, each taking another complex path. However, while they had split up, they ended up at the same destination: a desolate underground parking garage.
The three vans entered the parking garage simultaneously. They parked in a formation surrounding yet another van, this one black and broken down. As soon as the vans parked, their doors swung open and their inhabitants opened fire. They all aimed for the back section of the van. Every single one of the gunmen unloaded an entire thirty-round clip. Once they had done that, someone got out the front seat of one of the white vans.
“Marcus! Rubio! On me!” the man ordered. Two people from the same van exited and took a place beside him. The man, Chris, gestured his left hand out.
“Rubio, the silver grenade” he ordered. The man to his left, Rubio, grabbed a cylindrical grenade from his waist and handed it to Chris. The three of them then approached the van. Rubio and Marcus reloaded their firearms. At the same time, Chris readied to open the door. Chris looked at Rubio and Marcus to confirm that they were ready. Both of them nodded back. Chris pulled the grenade’s pin and swung the sliding door open. But as he did, he heard an unnecessary, yet distinctive, beep. Before the three of them could begin to process what had happened, Nadia had successfully delivered we present.
Chris, Rubio, and Marcus were killed instantly. The explosion sent shrapnel from Nadia’s van all over the parking garage. A few unlucky souls were fatally wounded by it. A few more were critically injured by it. The shock of the blast was able to knock most of the hitmen off their feet. However, most of the hitmen were able to escape unscathed.
“She would be able to survive an explosion like that!” shouted one of the hitmen, “Everyone, reload!”. Everyone obliged, and loaded their firearms with their second (and last) clip of ammunition. They all trained their aim on the area of the explosion, waiting for the smoke to clear. But once it did, they saw nothing but the van’s remains.
“Damn that bitch!” exclaimed one of the hitmen, “we need to split up and find her ASAP!”. Everyone hurried back into their vans. All of the vans drove off to find Nadia, except one. That one was used to transport the casualties.
All the hitmen frantically searched for Nadia, fearing that they may never find her. They wouldn’t be reacting this way if it they had lost sight of anyone else. But Sophie set Nadia as the highest priority target.
• • •
Nadia had not exerted herself any extreme amount, yet she felt exhausted from her run. She had traversed half across the Cruxius family’s territory trying to get away from the hitmen. She had not stopped for even the slightest moment. Normally, Nadia would simply hail a taxi for a trip this long, but she knew she couldn’t afford to stand still for even the slightest moment.
But even though she had gone on foot, Nadia managed to make it to her destination in only two hours.
She had made it back to the world projects.