I don’t have a will, or even a testament. I’m not big on testaments or commandments and won’t leave anything behind when I die. Not by choice; I just won’t. It’s entirely possible what when I die, no one will ever remember I existed, which isn’t a trick most people can pull off in an age of social media and internet feeds hungering for data like cats ravaging catnip. There are a lot of tricks in the world. Some big, some small, some useless and some flat-out terrifying. Mine falls somewhere in the range of wth.
My name’s Parker, and I lose things.
I have vague memories of being married once. That’s really all anyone needs to know about that.
Right now I’m in an actual nest of vampires under the disused Cooper Line subway station. Built in the 1960s and then never connected to the subway at all for reasons involving politics and possibly bribes just to piss off the architect, who drank himself into oblivion a couple of years later. It’s likely he did something to this place when dying: concentrated bitterness can do amazing things at times.
All I know is that vampires are solitary creatures, as far as tulpas go. And this place of stone and earth lit only by the city workers hats and safety vests we are wearing, is showing us at least six vampires. Human-form, vast, moving along ceiling and walls in blurs too quick for most of the gunshots to reach them. I’m here with Brodie Tavish; she asked the oldest ghoul in the city for directions to this place because the city wants to reopen it and all the maps had been burned or lost.
That should have been our first clue something wasn’t at all kosher. I also should have wondered of Brodie had pissed off Utlk recently. For a two-hundred year old tulpa, Utlk can be a remarkably petty creature at times according to some stories I’ve heard. I made Brodie tell me everything she knew about him, just in case. First rule of dealing with tulpas: remember they’re not human. Some of them can play a very long game.
Or murder a small expedition funded by the city because – oh, hell.
Gunshots fill the air from the other ten people with us, few hitting the vampires at all. “Brodie.”
She turns to me, speaking between the sound of gunshots keeping the vampires at bay. “Parker. You have a plan?”
“Not as such. You do work for the city: does the mayor’s office have any plans in the pipeline involving Stateview Waters?”
“They are limiting tourist buses in the oldest parts of the city because of stress on cobblestone,” she says after a short pause. It’s why I like Brodie: no question about why I’m asking it, no ‘what the hell are you talking about?’, just what she knows, fast and quick. “Do I want to know why you’re asking this when we have six vampires who are going to kill us?”
Not trying to: we have weapons, we’ll run out of ammunition long before er manage to kill enough vampires to matter.
“Utlk lives in Stateview Waters; if the city does that, it will limit tourism to the cemetery and he does so love showing off the mausoleums.”
She blinks. “He does know more about the underground of the city than anyone else. You really think he didn’t warn us because of a fit of pique over something else?”
“You met him: do you?”
She swears, soft and ugly, fires off another shot with her pistol and wings a vampire. She’s good. Everyone she’s brought with her is calm, collected, and we don’t have a hope at all. “Go. Tell someone important.” She hands me her ID. “This might help.”
“I could make them lose us; we could get out,” I say between another burst of gunfire.
“There is at least six vampires. And a dozen humans to hide. You really think you can do that?”
We’ve known each other a week; she knew she’d end up forgetting me, because my trick does that. Didn’t mean a damned thing to her at all. “I don’t know.”
I step to the side. The vampires lose sight of me, lose my trail, lose the very thought I was here at all. I walk, until I can’t hear anymore gunfire, and I keep walking. I’m smiling and the smile doesn’t feel nice at all.