The battered clock behind the broken glass and metal cage in the bus station showed quarter to twelve when the run down inter-city bus pulled in, several world weary beaten down travellers exited, talking quietly together they headed off into the city. Several minutes later a heavy leather boot crunched into the gravel of the station, followed by it’s pair, the man standing before the bus's door wore faded and ripped jeans, a sleeveless leather vest over a worn grey tank top, a heavy sleeveless trench coat, it’s tails swirling about his knees. His arms, tattooed and scarred lift a crushed pack of Meski cigarettes, the man shakes one loose, and drags a match over the leather of his coat before lighting it and taking a deep draw.
His chin, covered in a light stubble that tracks up over his cheeks, leading to the deep scar passing over his piercing blue left eye. Two rings in his left ear and a pair in his right brow leading up into his close cropped blonde hair, his face locked into a scowl as he peers at his surroundings, his relaxed posture masking that his eyes probe every shadow and corner, this man misses nothing.
The bus driver gains his attention, “This trunk your only luggage?”, the man nods, and walks to the open luggage door on the side of the bus, he makes a subtle gesture with his right hand out of sight of the driver, before hefting the large trunk easily to his back, turning from the driver without a word, or meeting his eyes and trudging off into the light mist of the night.
It is nearly 1 AM when the man still carrying the large chest enters the run down apartment building on the outer ring of the city centre. He walks, surprisingly noiselessly for a large man with heavy boots crossing aged floorboard, to the heavily barred reception window, putting down his trunk he raps on the glass between the bars.
The glass slides open revealing an old overweight man in a stained singlet, with teeth almost as yellowed as his formerly white top. In an accented voice the traveller asks, “I want an apartment, indefinitely.”
“Hundred and twenty a week, a month in advance” the slovenly receptionist answers, without further comment the traveller throws six crumpled one hundred dollar bills through the window. “I’m going to need a name”
The traveller meets the eyes of the overweight man for several minutes, before almost growling “Ogier, Jan Ogier”. The receptionist scribbles something down in a ledger, and throws an aged brass key down on the counter. “Room 34, third floor up those”, he gestures to a dark narrow staircase in the back of the room.
Jan hefts the large trunk again, struggling with it more than earlier, taking the key he slowly moves up the stairs until he reaches the third floor, opening the door he moves into the run down living room, an ancient tv, a sofa with as much stuffing escaping its cover than remaining inside it, and another door leading to the bedroom. He move straight to the bedroom, furnished simply with an iron framed bed and a cheap wardrobe. Jan lowers the trunk next to the door and peers out the crazed glass of the window looking into the darkness and shadows lit by the crazy neon lights of bars, stores and other businesses. He sighs, the sound of a man carrying a heavier weight in his soul than the burden he just lowered to the floor. He shrugs out of his clothes, revealing more scars and tattoos, once naked he collapses onto the bed face down, settling down to sink into sleep, a careful listener would hear a quiet sob as sleep takes the traveller.
Dusk the following day finds Jan moving the last of his belongings from the trunk to the wardrobe, there is a poster on the bedroom wall, looking like it’s from a strip club, it advertises an appearance by a beautiful, heavily tattooed dancer by the name of “Valka the Temptress” her photo bearing a striking resemblance to the tattoo on his right bicep. He glances over at the poster, a slight smile on his lips that never reaches his eyes, before grabbing the leather and steel vest and his coat and heading to the apartment door.
For the next few hours he wanders the streets, moving through the slowly thinning crowds, moving carefully with practised skill to draw no attention to himself, his eyes and ears noticing every detail, seeing details no-one else does, waiting, biding his time until the Sun is well below the horizon.
The later it gets, the more attention Jan pays to the others on the streets, and the more cautious his movements become, he starts moving from shadow to shadow, taking extra note of some of the thinning crowd, unobtrusively following some, breaking off before his tailing them would draw notice.
Towards midnight he follows a well dressed trio, two men and a woman into a bar, a cold look backs off the bouncer that would prevent him entering in his jeans and leather, once inside he moves to the last seat at the gleaming marble bar, without ever looking at the three he followed he keeps them under observation, noting their every move, who they talk to, where they go, what they do. He sits there at the end of the bar, ordering a shot of Zoladkowa Gorzka, he downs it quickly gesturing for another.
About fifteen minutes after he settled at the end of the bar, a woman approaches his claimed end of the bar, she sits at the stool next to his, her hair, clothing and make-up all stylish and expensive, she is clean skinned, obviously rich, used to making men do her bidding for the chance to sleep with her. “Buy a lady a drink?” she almost purrs.
He looks down at the four, empty upturned glasses in front of him, knocks back the fifth in his hand, then turning his head, not quite far enough to look directly at her, he growls, deep, quiet, “I drink alone”, Ignoring her outraged protest, his focus entirely on the three he followed into the bar, he abruptly stands to follow them from the bar, as he passes the woman he looks down at her, his eyes roaming her body, “you are not my type”, he walks a few steps further, turning his head to give a parting shot over his shoulder, “too soft”.
He comes out onto the street maybe 5 minutes behind the trio, now joined by a very drunk socialite from the bar, she could be a clone of the woman Jan just rejected. He moves quickly into the shadows, and watches the four turn into a nearby alley. Moving with speed he hasn’t demonstrated before he cautiously peers around the corner of the alley, just in time to see the revelation he expected.
The supposedly very drunk socialite has become a creature of tooth and nail and shadow, her extended fangs tearing into the throat of one of the two men, her claw like hands slashing, tearing towards the throats of the other man, and the woman, however her attack comes to an abrupt end as Jan calls, “I do not think you should be doing this”, The woman whirls, her bloodied lips draw back from the extended fangs marking her as a vampire, she hisses towards the interruption in rage.
Jan walks steadily into the alley, muttering under his breath, his hands making odd gestures a growing ball of fire appearing in his left hand. With a screech of rage the unmasked vampire launches herself at Jan down the alley, his lip curling into a sneer, he throws the flickering ball of flame at his attacker!
As the ball of fire strikes the attacking vampire it instantly flickers over her body, covering her from head to toe in an instant, her screeching ends as the mystic flames flare and extinguish, leaving not even ashes of the woman. Jan continues down the alley to the three victims, quickly examining them, he determines they have no life threatening wounds, with no word for the three, he continues to the end of the alley, disappearing into the dark.