Sad Truth

Glencoe Park

Glencoe Park isn't the largest in the area, but it's still fairly sizable. The grass is in a perpetually well-trimmed state, shining a healthy green year round. Near the southern entrance to the park is a playground cluster filled with swings, a merry-go-round, seesaws, huge forts, and a jungle-gym. Not too far from the playground are fields for both rugby and softball, enclosed by wire fences so that children don't run haphazardly onto the fields. Further into the park is a walking path through a small forested area.


A beautifully wonderful time to be spending at the park. It's a time before the nightlife awakens, and the coffin-dwellers come out. It means that there are very few people in the park, especially at this time of the year. Which is why Chloe loves it. Most everyone is still busy with holiday gatherings, leaving the park silent except for the sounds of the swing creaking as she shifts herself back and forth on it.

For the hour between sunset and full dark, she's managed to lose herself in thought. No track of time. No alarm to remind her that the creepy crawlers will soon be waking and wandering the street. Just the rhythmic creak of the swing.

Wisdom comes with age, early rising another benefit. First stalking the corners of the park, a silent shadow fleeting from place to place, all but invisible to the human eye. Eventually, Will emerges from the darkness, careful to walk from in front of the swing, careful to ensure his movements are relaxed, and careful. He walks with quiet grace, his usual careful steps carrying him at a measured pace. Unusually, his frame is graced by a long, dark coat that sweeps behind him, the wings of a dark angel.

The wind catching the coat is what finally draws Chloe from within herself. She glances up, blanches a little, and unlike her usual hospitable self she pretends she never noticed the approach. Merely waiting to see what the vampire will choose to do next. So the swing just continues the rhythmically slow creaking as she moves forward, then back.

Indeed he stops walking, a good five metres away, the blanch spotted and the remnants of a smile lifting his lips. "Chloe," says he, gently, by way of greeting. Then he waits.

"Mr. Grant," Chloe replies, dipping her head in a somewhat reverent nod. "It amuses me somewhat, how you seem to keep finding me no matter where I hide." She finally glances back toward him, brow raised. "No entourage for me to experiment on this evening?"

"No entourage to attempt to murder me, I'm afraid," Will replies, with vague and amused humour threading his tone. "You evaded me for a good while this evening. How are you?"

"You cannot have been up all that long." Chloe peers past him at the sky, attempting to determine the hour. "I've survived the holidays, so I do believe that means I'm well." At least as well as she can hope to be.

Will gestures with one open hand towards the swing at Chloe's side, still in the cool night air. "May I? Are the seasonal holidays a particularly trying time for you?"

Eyes shift toward the swing, and all is silent for a long while. Finally, Chloe simply nods acquiescently. "You may." A shrug, a sigh, and then, "The holidays are just… the holidays. Family, however, is particularly trying."

Measured steps carry the vampire to the swing, and he balances onto it without bothering to use arms for support. "I don't know anything about your family. You have issue with them?"

Chloe stops swinging, waiting until he's settled onto the swing before she continues again. Slowly pushing herself forward, she swivels just a bit to keep an eye on him. "They ignored me for a great deal of my childhood and institutionalized me. Logically, I understand why, but it's left some scars."

"It is a difficult position for all," Will says, sitting still in the seat of the swing, hands folded into his lap. "You have contact with them now? Do you like to spend time with them?"

"Why do you want to know, Mr. Grant?" The swing suddenly stops moving, and she twirls it sideways in order to stare at him directly. Show no fear, and she'll have the upper hand, so far as she figures. "I certainly hope that your next ploy is not to go after my family in an attempt to get me to work for you."

"You've already fulfilled all your obligations of your given word," Will replies, not bothering to turn to her. "Now I am merely interested in another sentient being. Is that so hard to believe?"


Chloe allows the swing to unwind, snapping her to a forward position once more. Her head lays against the chain before she starts to slowly swing again. "I see them at the holidays, otherwise I avoid them all except Bobby."

Finally, the vampire turns to look at Chloe, only his head moving to rest clear blue eyes on her. His voice is level, calm and gentle as always. "I do not want anything else from you— in fact, no, that is untrue. I will not ask anything else of you. My word is given, and much as modern society has shrivelled in honour I hope you realise what that means of someone of my era. Is Bobby a brother of yours?"

"I will concede to your honor, Mr. Grant. Despite what it is you want, you've kept your word so far." Chloe stares down at her feet as she continues the gentle lulling motion of the swing. "My older brother." Instead of explaining further, she asks, "Did you have any siblings?"

"Any time you wish or require to continue the efforts we began, you have but to ask," Will replies, a gleam of amusement shifting through his eyes. "That is all. I had numerous siblings, though only three grew to adulthood. I was third surviving eldest as such things are counted."

"Why did you… uh… choose the life you did?" The question can cover several things, and if she were being honest, Chloe's not at all certain which she wants an answer to. His offer goes ignored for the moment, as she's trying extremely hard not to dwell on the fact that he wants something of her other than conversation.

"Some see our state as a curse, others as a disease," Will explains, turning his head away to stare out into the distance. "I came to believe that it is an obligation, a responsibility that carries a great burden of care. I have had great opportunity to do good in this world."

Chloe considers the response for a moment, quietly staring out across the park. "So you would consider your deeds philanthropic?"

"That depends upon whether you include vampires within mankind," Will replies, still staring out across the park. His folded hands interlock fingers, and a somewhat distant look crosses his face. "That was a jest, incidentally. The majority of my deeds are not for my own betterment or advancement, yes."

"I am no philosopher or politician. It is not up to me to include anyone within mankind." Chloe's swinging picks up a little bit of speed, and she allows the conversation to fall to the side for a few moments.

For a few seconds, Will sits still, before coming to his feet, abandoning the swing. "If you do not mind the question," says he, "what are your general views on vampires?"

The pumping of the legs slows. Shoes drag along dirt, until the swing comes to a full stop. "Undecided," Chloe admits. "You're the first for-sure one that I've met. So they're likely all going to be a noisy mess in my brain when I meet more, and I'm not looking forward to that at all."

"It is my belief that you are unlikely to be able hear any of us," Will says, with hands thrusting into the pockets of his coat. The bottom shifts slightly in a gentle breeze, though Will's quiet voice carries easily.

"That remains to be seen," comes the reply. Chloe tilts her head at him slowly. "Though you should perhaps extrapolate on your belief. What makes you think that, exactly?"

Will takes a long, sweeping look over the park, spinning to allow himself to check everywhere. He stops facing Chloe, and looks directly at her. "Because my psychic abilities do not function on other vampires," says he.

Which begs the question…

"Did you have your abilities before you were turned?" Chloe waits a beat, then laughs at herself and shakes her head. "What am I saying? I am absolutely delusional. There is no such thing as a psychic…"

"I did not," Will replies. "You have seen me alter someone's mind. You have seen me extract a life of memories from a human. Remember, until two years ago, there were no such thing as vampires."

"If that is the case," she says, slowly, as though proceeding with caution. "How is it that you have these abilities now?"

"If I knew the answer to that question," Will says, "I would not be so interested in you." He turns in place, feet twisting at the ankles to face him away from the girl. "However, I have pushed you as far as you are willing, because you are afraid of yourself and your abilities. There is no shame in this."

Chloe makes no move to keep him from leaving, though she does ask one final question. "What you said… that night at the library… why will that help me? Are you such a…" A pause to consider the appropriate word. "… powerful vampire that all others would be scared to touch anything you own?"

"Do you think I am one of the more powerful ones amongst us?" Will counters. Delivered as a question.


Hands clap over her mouth and she stares at him, horrified. Not what she intended to say, it just came out. She looks away from him, then ahems several times. "What I mean is that to offer someone that sort of protection, it is either like the mob, or you have a powerful presence." Beat. "Is there a vampire mafia?"

"It is unbecoming of me to discuss our ways with one who is not one of us," Will says, formally. His tone lightens a little, as he continues, "At least, one who is not a part of our society." He turns again, resting his look upon her, hands still in pockets. "Before the word was stolen from us by criminals, a mafia was a tightly knit group of individuals. All minorities form such."

"Soooo…." Chloe peers at him, perhaps a little frightened mixed with a smidgeon of awe. "You are some head honcho in a vampire mafia…"

A curious look rests upon her. "Where within my words did you glean that?" he asks.

"Well, you won't discuss your ways with someone not in your 'society', and you /did/ say that all minorities form such things…" Chloe doesn't even bother to look sheepish. Mainly because she's not feeling sheepish over such an assumption.

"You are-" Will pauses, slowly and deliberately lifting an eyebrow for her. "You may well be looking for conspiracy," says he, archly amused now.

"Hardly. It makes a great deal of logical sense. You likely have these families, or groups, and you have one person in each area calling the shots." Chloe nods, almost knowingly. "Like, chieftains or something of the sort."

A single finger lifts, as if punctuating a point. "Consider this. Vast organisations of supernatural creatures, with a feudal system as you describe spanning centuries, even millenia of war and peace, life and death, feeding upon the populace for the vast majority of this time. Is there any way these organisations remain a secret? No reporter or criminal investigator ever finds a pattern, sees a link, or traces a story?"

Chloe considers, very briefly, then her lips curve up into a smile. "Ah, but there are probably others like you. That can alter someone's mind as you seem to be able to do. That would go a fairly long way to remaining hidden or secret. Beyond which, there are a lot of secret societies that remain hidden and mysterious to this day, without the help of mind-whammies."

"If you consider your argument, you will realise wherein you contradict yourself," says Will. "I, however, bring example. Freemasonry. Poro. The various college societies. Even where specifics are unknown, the society is shown to be evident."

"Which is also true of vampires. Look at all the mythology, in all the different countries. Each and every single one has some sort of vampire lore, whether any of it is truth, or extremely specific or not." Chloe beams at her argument, lifting up a finger to give herself a point.

"How many of these lores suggest that vampires have vast organisation and are part of global conspiracies?" asks Will, pleasantly.

"None, which by your logic of the specifics, shows that they could very well be extremely organized." At this point, it would seem that Chloe is just teasing him instead of believing it. Though the argument is perhaps a tad fun.

"My logic of specifics allows only for situations where the society is already proven. You admit no suggestion of society or organisation." Will allows her a brief, enigmatic smile. "Humanity has had two years to find a vast underground organisation."

Chloe shakes her head slowly. "They have had that much time, I will agree, but how many have been left with no memory of finding such organizations? Beyond which, many if not most humans have a fear of the unknown. Two years is not truly that much time to consider vampires a 'known' branch of society."

Will slowly shakes his head. "Unfortunately your premise relies upon points which are either not able to be discussed or unquantifiable. I fear we will be forced to reach a disagreement."

"But you /do/ agree that /if/ these points were able to be discussed, that my argument would have some very valid points…" Trying to glean information without actually getting it seems to be her goal. Chloe gets up off the swing, crossing her arms over her chest. "Or perhaps your point is that I would have to join you to learn whether or not my thoughts are valid?"

A brief chuckle starts from Will. "Whether your points are valid or not matters not to me. The centuries pass more quickly when one learns to argue any side of perception. Your second query I can answer to the affirmative."

Shifting backward, Chloe peers at him. Somewhat warily. "Why do you have such a need for me to join your ranks? I have no intention of crossing over, or becoming your Mina, so you'd just best not set your Renfield on me…"

"I was not offering or asking you," Will tells her. "Cease your paranoia. I was merely affirming that only someone who was a vampire would ever understand the society."

"Perhaps," she offers, "you've just not met the right non-vampire to share it with." Chloe shrugs her shoulders, then looks past him. "But hey, kudos for getting the reference. I never pegged a vampire for being interested in fictional stories about their own kind…"

"That particular book is an object of much humour," Will explains. As though remembering to move, he draws his hands forth from pockets to clasp in front of him. "At some point you will accept that I am not going to tell you."

"Will that be before or after you accept that I don't want to be an experiment," she counters. Chloe just winks at him then.

"I accepted immediately that you do not want to be an experiment," says Will. "The difference is that you will change you mind."

"Hardly," Chloe replies. "I'd rather just forget about my craziness, and get on with my life, Mr. Grant."

"After all of this," says Will, gently, "and you still say that?"

"Oh, yes…" Chloe nods whole-heartedly. "A normal life is one of my greatest desires. It's very difficult to be normal when you are continually hearing voices."

Will shakes his head, eyes closing for a moment. "I feel true sorrow for you. Still, I will continue to offer my services as a reprieve for you, however brief."

"Don't." Chloe glowers at him, frowning slightly. "I don't need your pity, I just need normalcy." She exhales a small sigh. "Look, Mr. Grant… I /do/ appreciate that offer. Despite our differing views and desires, having however small a reprieve for my mind is always welcome."

"My faith does not allow me to feel different," Will says, gently, and even with a twist of kindness to his words. "Conversation with a vampire may not be normal for most, but it will be the closest you come, I fear. Any time you wish, simply call."

The sad truth is that it likely will be as normal as she will ever have. The reason she avoids interaction with others as much as possible, unless heavily medicated. Chloe's look is briefly sad. She says nothing though. Just stares outward at the park.

Still gentle of voice, Will says, "For any reason, simply call. See you soon, Chloe." There is a brief noise; the rushing of air, and a dark flutter of movement across the park. Will has gone.

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