James’s Note: In this episode, we get a look into the dystopia that is vampire society in most urban fantasies. Any resemblance to real life governments is entirely up for interpretation.
Caesar turned his icy gaze on me. He definitely had the personal magnetism to be a vampiric leader. “You know why I joined the Guillotine Society, Witcher man? The vampire who made me was a mid-level type, about a hundred years old. Kind of a twisted old bastard, but he was always kind to me. He wanted a son, and he found me bleeding to death in an alleyway. I was 19, stupid, and had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. He saved my life, and gave me a new one.”
I could see the emotion brimming behind Caesar’s hard eyes. If vampires cried, he would have been fighting back tears. “About the time I had gotten used to my new life, he decided he wanted a daughter too. I didn’t see a problem with this. We found a nice girl who was down on her luck. She was more than happy to be given a new lease on life. Good old pops kind of lost interest in us, after a while, but we had each other. She was like the little sister I never had.”
“Problem is, our sire apparently went through the proper channels and got permission to create me. I guess he was all out of political favors when it came to making my little sister. So he just went ahead and made her anyway.”
I had a bad feeling I knew where this was going. Cesar pressed on. “Eventually he got found out, because of course he did. And what did our benevolent master vampire think was a reasonable solution to this breach of etiquette? He sent a hit squad in the middle of the day. They murdered my sire and little sister, but they left me alive, because technically I hadn’t done anything wrong. Wasn’t that fucking magnanimous of them?”
I felt Caesar’s pain deep in my heart. I could see it etched into him as I stared into his eyes.
“I’m so sorry,” I said with deep sincerity.
“Yeah, well that’s the world we live in. All vampires live at the sufferance of the masters. We pay our blood tithes, we serve as their soldiers whenever they want us, and we pray we don’t do anything to offend them.”
Caesar pounded his fist into the crate with a crack. “Well I’m done. Everyone here is done with that shit.”
I could tell Israel had heard the story before, but it didn’t seem to make it any easier to hear.
“Caesar, I know the kind of atrocities the elders commit on a nightly basis. We both agree things have to change, but there’s a better way. We can actually have a government, one that represents us. We can have leaders that are answerable to their people, that don’t have the power to kill at will.”
Caesar’s lip curled as he all but spat, “I’m done with that minarchist bullshit. If you leave even a scrap of the cancer behind, it’ll come back. How long before these reasonable leaders decide they want to be kings, then gods? No, this system is going to end forever. No More Kings!”
I saw Israel wanted to argue some more. Deep down, he really cared about these people and wanted them to see reason. I could tell this was an argument they had before, and it wasn’t going anywhere. I had seen all I needed to. I told Israel as much, and that it was time we left. He agreed reluctantly, and we left the club, walking through the thrumming mass that was the dance floor.
When we were both piled into my mini, I turned Israel. “ I can drop you off back at your office, or you can tag along if you want. It doesn’t matter to me, but I’ve got to swing back by my house before I head on to my next lead.”
Israel looked even more exhausted than before. He looked like it had been a long century. “I might as well tag along. At this point I’m vested and want to see this through to the end. Besides, I’m almost starting to like you and it’d be a shame if you got yourself eaten.”
“Yeah, that would indeed be a shame.”