No Religion: From the Journal of Kyle Thomas Johnson

 


Warning: This journal entry, which is a work of fiction, contains content not suitable for all ages. Reader discretion is advised.


It’s said that we, the undead, don’t dream while we sleep. In fact, it’s said we don’t really sleep at all – we simply become inert. It’s only when night falls and the Blood rouses us that we take on a semblance of life.

So they say.

If it were true, I’d not spent the last week worth of days bleeding sweat as I lay trapped in one nightmare after another.

A bad days sleep is worse for a Kindred, I discovered, than a bad nights is for a kine. If you wake up disoriented with no idea where you are or even your own name as a kine, you aren’t likely to lunge at your live-in girlfriend and try to murder her. Felicja is a big girl, but after the second near-miss I decided to spend sometime at my old apartment near Hyde Park while I sussed things out.

Nightmares aren’t even the worst of it. I’ve been having…black-outs, I guess I’d call them. That whole night last week (and what a fucking night it was, but I’ll get to that in a moment) there are…blank spots in my memory. Sometimes I remember something I said and did, but it didn’t feel like me saying it. If I add that to the snippets of what I remember when I wake at night, coupled with what I know of my fellow Kindred and my own experiences at the Eternal School, I can only come to one conclusion:

Another Kindred has altered my mind. Maybe more than one, and maybe many times. As I sit here, drinking stale, slightly melancholy blood from an old wine bottle and writing in this way overpriced leather journal, I can only think of two Kindred with both the means, motive, and opportunity to do it: Chicago’s Prince and Critias.

Prince Jackson doing it makes sense. Maybe he needed to delete something inconvenient, or make sure I was programmed to act in his interests. I didn’t like the idea of going all Manchurian Candidate, but after the Hell I’ve gone through trying to keep my own coterie inline I can almost sympathize. You know, when I’m not imagining crushing his skull like a grapefruit.

Critias, however, was different. The ancient Brujah made no secret of the ‘trials’ he put his students through and he had a license to kill failures from the Prince himself. No, it wasn’t anything he did to us in the forum I suspect. Sometimes, when I try and scratch at the itchy patches of memory in my brain, I feel ill, like I’m going to vomit, and I’m overwhelmed with disgust and…shame? Something worse than beatings and constant fear of death happened at the School, that much I’m sure of.

I’ve tried telling myself I’d be better off forgetting all about this and getting on with my unlife. There’s no upside to digging. No justice to be had for messing with my mind and whatever else they might have done.

Then I remembered that, if I’m careful, I’m going to live FOREVER and it’s not like I can’t nurse a grudge. So I’ll keep digging till I find the truth. I’ll build up my outrage, bit by bit. Then, one day, I’ll pay them back with interest.

But that’s Future Kyle’s problem. So much more than being misused by elder monsters has been going on this week, so much to unpack, I scarcely know where to start. Let me backtrack a bit.

In my last entry, I mentioned a new friend – Nightingale – had stood me up, and after I had gone through significant trouble on her behalf. I was still angry after writing all that, and I thought that night was going to be dedicated to hunting her through the sewers of Chicago. Fortunately, my incandescent rage was assuaged when I received a text from Nightingale with instructions to meet at a warehouse on the docks.

Or so I thought it was her. Turns out it was another Nos with a fake bomb and a chip on his shoulder named Tusk. There was a bit of tension, seeing as Tusk thought I might have done something unseemly to Nightingale (as in the Final Death, get your minds out of the gutter for now) who was now missing. After working through this misunderstanding, Tusk and I can to an arrangement – he provided me with Nightingale’s last known location while I agreed to recover her.

Before I could get on with that though, Perry and I ran into government-types surveying us, which lead to one count of homicide (I didn’t do it), one kidnapping (that one’s kind of on me), and two acts of arson via one blown up Tesla and one blown up SUV (I did ’em both). We scooped up the Fed’s stuff – laptops, cell phones, weapons – with the hope of learning more later.

Now, if that all seems a bit extreme well…it was a tad. The cars, and our cellphones, had to go. These suits had cracked them, they were listening through my smartphone and my car. No, fire took care of all that and the dead body (not that I think killing one of the Fed’s was a good idea). My hope was that it’ll all look like a tragic accident or maybe something gang related. The CPD are always quick to blame violent crime on the gangs, maybe it’d do some good for a change.

We got back to the club thanks to Perry’s seemingly unending network of downtrodden serfs looking for God in all the wrong places. There I laid out my plan: full blown assault against Nightingale’s kidnappers, some Snake calling himself the Prince of Dreams (note to self: remember to drop that particular nugget in the report to Prince Jackson). I was ‘persuaded’ to instead allow Perry to reach out his kinsmen and arrange an audience. I also had to smooth things over with Angela – apparently she felt it was poor decision-making on my part to bring a captive government agent and his gear to the club. In hindsight I was a bit amped up from all the violence and explosions, I wasn’t thinking straight (that reminds me, I need to secure a neutral location for ‘private’ work).

Everything seemed to be spinning out of control already at this point. I admit, the Beast was riding me like a two-dollar whore at this point. I was angry, like always, but also paranoid. Like, almost delusionally so. Then strange things started happening at the club, I found that our young friend Chris still plays house with his family and that his wife had suddenly gone off grid. I was convinced that we were all going to have our heads covered in black bags by the end of the night.

Leaving Angela at the club, Chris, Perry, and I went to Chris’s place out in the burbs. It was like walking into a time capsule of the 50’s or onto the set of The Stepford Wives. Odd was the best way I can describe, and Chris’s place was the epicenter. Inside we found his wife nearly bled out on the floor from having cut herself accidentally but apparently lacking the mental facility to call for help.

This took me right up to the edge. I was looking down into the Abyss, and we were talking diamond cuts. It wasn’t the ocean of blood in Chris’s kitchen, delicious though it smelt, but giant clusterfuck we were sitting on: this whole situation was a Masquerade breach in more ways than one. The image of all our heads on spikes danced through my mind.

What made it worse was that neither Perry (who should know better) or Chris (who should at least know enough to be concerned) were calm as clams. This was the first of many moments this night that I’d think I was in a coterie with psychopaths. I get, we’re all monsters and all, but only a lunatic would thumb their nose at the laws and traditions of the true predators that rule this city at night and be blase about it.

So, to contain the situation and get out in front of any blow back, I made a call to Amanda Price, Esq. Amanda is kind of like a handler – I think the official term is Shadow in the Cam – who gives me advice, helps out, and makes sure the coterie doesn’t fuck things up for the Prince too much. She wasn’t too happy with the situation, but she agreed to make sure no one at the local hospital would get any ideas except the ones she gave them.

With that settled, and with an invitation the Prince of Dreams arriving literally on the doorstep, the whole coterie regrouped. We drove to this crappy neighborhood, to a club called Gomorrah. Another creepy fucking place. Perry seemed at home, and despite our trust issues I was more than happy to let him take point. Den of hedonistic cultists that worship a snake god really isn’t my scene.

We were admitted, led through the club then on a ride in a boat that was straight out of a theme park. It took us underground, I think, and to the court of the Prince of Dreams. Anatole Mezni – creepy-looking bastard in an equally creepy place. Perry was smooth, in that slick televangelist kind of way, and I cleaved to the Traditions that this so-called Prince seemed so keen on having respected (at least in his domain). We didn’t get too far into negotiations though before the Prince bade us enjoy the hospitality of his court and to stay the night (for the hour had grown late with all our fucking about the City like a pack of retreads).

The night wasn’t a total loss though, as I did have two very interesting encounters: one with Senator Samuel Greer – frenemies of my grandfather – who was not-so-discreetly chatting up an attractive young man and another with Giselle, a member of the Prince’s court. It also came out, through conversation with Frankie (one of Chris’s clanmates and a Settite convert) that I was looking into Chris’s unknown sire on behalf of the prince. I took this chance to try and impress on the neonate the severity of his situation, but I’m not sure if anything I says penetrates his cold, calculating mind.

Despite having to blow her off earlier in the evening, I ended up spending the day sleeping with Giselle. She’s not my usual type, but she has the most amazing rack. Anyway, the next night we all awoke to bear witness to a strange ritual these particular Ministers partook of – one of sacrifice to their snake god or something. I was intrigued, and felt like participating but Angela convinced me otherwise. What can I say, I have a hard time refusing a beautiful woman.

The ritual ended on a sour note, as Giselle cut the throat of one of Perry’s herd – a kine who ran a sex shop in the area. Yea…gonna have to enjoy those tits of hers while they’re still unstabbed: Perry’s out for pay back and I can’t very well refuse him my help after he (despite what I view as lapses in judgement) helped me. What else is a coterie for if not to advance your own schemes as well as that of the collectives?

We maintained our cool through it all and we managed to secure my prize: one Nighingale in a head bag, in exchange for a major boon owed by myself to the Prince of Dreams. That’s a debt I don’t intend to keep on the books for long. We hightailed it out of that place, everyone a little shaken.

Back on the street, I pulled the head bag off Nightingale. She was on the verge of frenzy, but she was still able to pay me back and give me a cheap thrill: she shoved her tongue down my throat long enough to slip me a piece of paper. She got out of there in a hurry after that, but her information led us to the shop of Perry’s now-dead kine and cult member.

Unfortunately, we seemed to have missed what Nightingale wanted us to find – a tape that was now missing. We caught a break here though: the shop had surveillance cameras. Watching them, we saw a woman taking something from the section detailed by Nightingale.

So, I have a lot more questions than answers. But my relationship with the Chicago’s Nos is now stronger than ever. I don’t think they’d come out and say I’m a Big Damn Hero, but I think I may have begun to earn their respect. I’ve also convinced Nightingale to come over sometime – not saying it’s a date, but there might be some Netflix and chill involved. Don’t judge, she’s hot for a Nos.

In the meantime, I have some laptop to finish cracking and repressed memories to uncover. I’ll be meeting with the coterie tomorrow night for the first time since that night. We should have a lot to talk about.


Players Note: This is the second journal entry recapping the events of the second, third and fourth sessions of the Second City Chronicle – a game of Vampire the Masquerade, 5th Edition. My character, Kyle Thomas Johnson or K.T., is a young Brujah from a wealthy North Shore family. A dilettante and socialite, he crusades against sex-trafficking while simultaneously using his access to recruit willing, able-bodied girls for his escort agency.  He is a silent partner in the reborn Succubus Club and apparently the voice of reason to a coterie of madmen. 

He is joined by his coterie-mates Angela, a Toredaor who has been given the responsibility and glory of reestablishing the Succubus Club in Chicago; Perry Meyers, a Settite and Temple of Set cultist; and last, but not least, the creepy professor and orphaned Ventrue Christopher Walker. Tonight’s session will see Kyle returning to the coterie after a brief absence, so look out for my next entry and the shenanigans Kyle will likely have to untangle. 


 

 

 

 

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