City Lights at Night

Bad Dreams

This is how the dreams always started. In some mundane situation, no memory of how he got there. Things would go bad soon, they always did, and when they did they would go for broke. The Red Lady sweeping in to reclaim him, the war restarting around him, the faces of his family rising as mushroom clouds, ready to devour him for failing them. He was ready for it by now. But this time, all he did was sit on a bus. It never crashed into enemy fortifications, never veered just enough to run over his infant children. Just drove. From what he picked up, it was driving past the airport, the local one. He’d pick up more if he wasn’t trashed.

That was why he didn’t remember! It was just the booze. He was on a northbound bus, and none of it was real. It was all just the goddamn dreams, and soon enough he’d be home to his…

No. He couldn’t. There was nowhere to go, no one to go to. The dreams were real, or at least some of them, or at least real enough. He didn’t know, and puzzling over it wasn’t his speed. What he did know was that he needed to get off this bus to… To nowhere.

For some reason the bus driver didn’t appreciate him laying on the cord and yelling for a stop on Veteran’s. Prick stopped pretty easy when he let the machete flash. And after that, the blur. He was used to the blur. Growing up in Vegas, it was hard to avoid drunkenly staggering past blinding lights. Casino signs, headlights, at this point it didn’t matter to him, and soon enough one blended into the other. He didn’t know how long he’d been walking, or how long he’d been on the bus, or how long he’d been back in the world, or how long he had been gone, and none of it mattered. One foot in front of the other, mind not so much away as gone, running more on the wheel lashed in place and a brick on the accelerator than autopilot. The sun was rising to his left, and he liked the heat. But he needed dark, for the time being, and safe. So he followed his feet. Luckily, his feet had a better memory than he did, it was something hey picked up on his Tour, back when they were distinct enough to need it. He’d already been somewhere dark, and safe that night. So they took him back, and found part of it that was warm. And then they all fell asleep, broken, alone, with not even himself left to fight for, but nothing t do but fight. This was how the dreams always ended

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Creeps and Courts
In which the lease ends and there is a large meeting

I en’t much for the whole “dear diary” thing, so don’t get offended if I don’t address you, mkay?

I’ve been here a little bit, so I wasn’t too surprised when David showed up Thursday to tell me it was time for work. He brought a friend this time— Mr. Red. Nice gentleman. A little forward… but nice enough I s’pose. He’ll be tending bar for us at the grill.

Speaking of the grill, something awful strange was goin’ on when we got there. Seems somebody’d got the notion to set the stage on fire— only it didn’t burn proper, just looked like it. No char, no soot when it disappeared— and then Hawaiian Shirt walked in and made the whole deal a whole lot scarier. Some godawful thing I barely got a glimpse of, fiery and sinister and dead, was hangin’ off of him. Real jumpy fella, I was more’n glad when he up and left.

We opened up on time, had a pretty average day from there on out. David got to talking with Ms. Wolfe next day, she asked about the fella—Kemp?— and told us a little ‘bout that new drug on the market, and mentioned that my lease at the Barnswallow was up and there was a meeting we’d need to attend on that evening. Average day at work, though I’d be downright crazy to leave out that the Ambassador decided to saunter in and give me some backup. I tell you, that man’ll move a crowd to tears in two seconds flat.

Anyway, we closed up early on Friday and headed down underneath the city, of all places. Down into the tunnels. There were wolves in all their finery on one side, vamps in no p’ticular order on another, and a rag-tag crew of Lost on the last. All the Monarchs in attendance, with Neon lightin’ up the place like… well, never mind. Coyote got to talkin’, brought up the new casino they’re building up on the strip. “Dante’s Inferno”, den of sins of all sorts. The wolves want control, ‘course the vamps aren’t happy ‘bout that and the rest of us just want a hand in it. Only fair, right? Well, the wolves’ll buy it out whether the vampires like it or not, though they’re kind enough to give us a little… feeding ground… this en’t gonna be pretty, I can tell already.

After the fangs and furries left, things got interesting. Since it’s been ‘bout four months since we got here (we being me, Red, the creepy little Jap who runs the clock shop, Ondrej of the unpronouncable last name and Masa’s friend Big Jim), we had to declare a Court, declare no Court but present ourselves, or leave. Funny ‘nough, we got one of each. Ondrej took Spring, Red took Summer, I declared Autumn, Masa took Winter and Jim’s flyin’ solo.

We went back to the E String for a drink after, seems Ondrej came into some real estate and had an apartment I can rent— so I’ll be living there for now. Vegas sure en’t Montana, but at least I’ve got a couple of friends now, so it’s startin’ to feel a little more homey.

“Cause there’s been too many times

that I’ve been lied to and deceived

and somehow I got lost, and now I can’t find my way

Oh I guess I’ll keep waiting, waiting for my better days." (ST)

—Wren

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Money to be Made

Hovno. Times up at the Barnswallow, but its not a problem, I’ve got myself a place just off the strip. And the basement is almost finished; Charlie Prince’s contractor has done well getting the job done, daughters are such wonderful motivators . Having a roommate will be a bit odd I suppose, but hey, she’s not bad to look at, and isn’t that the goal now: to surrond ourselves with beautiful things? The August Motley declared their věrnosti last night, one to each of the corners of the compass, and one who stands tall enough not to be swayed by the winds. And what winds they are…

There’s money to be made out there, money in drugs, money in gambling, money in Vegas and all you have to do is reach out and take it; the same as the glamour. We are all parasites now, on the people of this dark town, but I don’t think the rest of them see it the way I do. Mr. Red is just an angry man, and one who for now is helpful, but his rage may be his krveprolití, by my hand or another. Wren Swift appears to be satisfied with the way her life has turned out, if you can say that: this also is hovno, no one could be satisfied with what we are not, not with the things we seen, those of us who have seen must always strive to regain the wonder of Arcadia, even with the fear. Masa, what an odd, short man. He is unreadable, he seems to want nothing but to be left alone. This I will change. “Big” Jim Dixon is an odd one, though perhaps to wrapped up in his books and his Plato, the allegory of the cave will get us all killed.

The Morse is killing people, but not us that I am aware of, how does it affect the Lost? I have been to the hedge and it has not yet killed me. Wolfe, the čubka, is ever a flame, drawing one in, but only to burn them. I must remember what the American’s say: Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. And I should determine which she is.

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It's Official

9:30:44AM Lec arrives with summons…I don’t want to be like Lec

10:04:56AM Official acceptance into Winter court. Momentous

1:45:33:PM Mr. Red commissioned me to make him a sword…interesting.

2010AD. Dec 9, 1:43:08AM Cold Iron pocket watch made. Now the ticking is mine again.

4:25:38AM Thought of a name for my automaton… I should make a note to tell Mr. Red… Must now think of a name for his sword…oh dear.

2010AD. Dec 10, 8:44:12AM Hedgespun spectacles. I must display my craftsmanship in order to attract customers. 2010AD. Dec 10, 8:44:12AM Hedgespun spectacles. I must display my craftsmanship in order to attract customers.

10:23:14AM Saul Jackson enters my store. Informs me of Joe Pockets’release. Must warn Ondrej of news. Mr. Jackson’s watch is decent, but he is full of halftruths.

11:40:00PM twenty minutes until church. Perhaps more will be explained there. Also Yule ball approaching. I wonder if I should not be helping with this now that I am a winter courtier. something to inquire about.

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What time is it?

6:17:36PM: Bethany Wolfe enters store. Invites me to meeting in the tunnels under city. All “interesting people” also attending. Too many people there, don’t want to go. But [:dr-edmund-cruces | Dr. Edmund Cruces]] and other monarchs in attendance. Must think on this.

6:20:11PM: WolfeLeaves. Decide to attend, must declare allegiance to winter court. Have to craft my oath and finish the watch.

6:20:55:PM: Mundane enters, problemed, attempts to pawn digital camera. I answer. Mundane unhappy, pulls a gun…cheap, Chinese. Didn’t like the gun, asked it to take a break. Mundane didn’t like that, ordered the gun to fire. Damaged 8 clocks, terrible. Mundane also died. Panic.

6:24:41PM: Wolfereturns. Explains Morse, goblin fruit used in it, must look into that. Put corpse into hedge. Had to show Wolfe my hallow, not good, must increase security. Corpse absorbed by hedge, must learn more about Morse and hedge’s desire to reclaim what rightfully belongs to it.

6:41:03PM: Commence fixed my clocks

6:48:03PM: Clocks fixed, 7 minutes exactly… am I getting slow?

11:21:44PM: Ondrej Gmeur enters. Timex, suit, moneyed… We remedy his ailment with a Skägen, grey, titanium links, very nice. He seems like a good man

12:01:13AM: Went to meeting with all other supernaturals. Vampires aggressive, don’t know what they want. Wolves organized, all work as one, like a well oiled machine…respectable.

12:37:00AM: I officially joined the ranks of winter. Ondrejdeclared Spring, his watch suits him well. Big Jim, cog and all, declared no allegiance; always been his style. Mr. Red, fiery man, no watch, went with summer. Wren Swift chose Autumn, she seems nice.

1:30:00AM: go to bar with all the new recruits. I think we may be friends.

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