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October 11th, 2003

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12:56 pm - Previously on Fangsters
Episode 1: Equal Opportunity

Chester Manfield knew he shouldn't be heading to Riverview, but he just couldn't help himself. The bright lights and the sounds of laughter carried all the way down Western Avenue. For just a while, by hitching a ride on the back of the streetcar, Chester could feel free. Free of the burden of his joyless existence as a field hand on a farm just outside the city. Free from the stupid rules of society that said colored men weren't good enough to go to places where other men could. Chester hopped off the back of the streetcar, stuffing his calloused palms into the pockets of his worn overalls, and shuffled down the road, head down, sticking to the shadows.

The sounds and sights and smells of the amusement park intoxicated his senses, making him a bit giddy. He watched the tall tower of the Circle Swing spinning, and wondered what it would be like to touch the sky. He heard the clatter-clack of the Jack Rabbit roller coaster, just a faint scream of the excited riders carrying on the night air. He smelled cotton candy, sure enough he did, and it made his empty stomach growl and turn over in flops.

Maybe, just maybe, he could walk to the park and apply for a job there. He could handle working a second job if it meant being in such a paradise as Riverview. Why, Chester reasoned, it wouldn't hardly be no work at all! His friend Leroy had heard talk of a Midway game they had there called Dip the African. Colored folks got to wear funny costumes and sit in a dunk tank, and shout insults loud as could be right at the white folks. It was so they'd buy a turn to throw baseballs- three for a dime- to try and hit the tiny target and "Dip the African" in the dunk tank. Leroy also heard that it paid a whole two bits a day! Imagine, earning a quarter, for just sitting there and hurling insults, and getting a little wet. Heck, probably wouldn't even get all that wet, Chester reckoned, way most white folks throw baseballs.

Boldened by his plans, he began to walk closer to the park. The further he got, the more excited he was. In fact, Chester was so intent on his destination that he nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard the snide voice calling. "Where do you think you're heading, boy?" Gasping, Chester whirled around to face the source of the voice- three gangster looking fellows in snazzy suits with blood-red carnations in their lapels that had seem to come up out of nowhere. "I wuz los', sirah..." Chester said, lapsing into a subservient posture and speech pattern, trying desperately to pacify the men. "I know colored folk ain't supposed to be round here.... I didn't mean nothin' by bein' here..."

"Don't worry," the middle one said with a sly smile, "We're all about equal opportunity... when it comes to dinner."

Chester shrieked as the three men closed in on him, their faces contorting into grotesque snarls, fangs gleaming. The dying screams of the young boy mingled harmoniously with the calliope of sound from the amusements of Riverview...

Important Notes:
This was the episode in which all the characters met up, and started working together. We learned that the villains were an organized group called the Sanguinia, or Bloodline- vampiric gangsters who wore blood red carnations in their lapels as their symbols. They seem to have their hands in the running of many businesses in town, including the popular Riverview amusement park. This episode also touched on some of the racial segregation and sex discrimination that takes place in Chicago's 1930s. The corruption of the world is beginning to show...

Episode 2: Flowers and Candy

Billy O'Reilly was not having a good day. He'd had a vision, right in Simon's sparkling, shiny car- blood all over the place. Blood all over Simon's shirt. Disgusted with himself, and sad for having made Simon angry, he decided the best course of action was to go for a walk and calm down. Walking out of the gates of the mansion, he had no particular direction in mind; it was fate more than anything that made him take the downtown streetcar, past the Loop to the Oak Park area. Good a place as any, Billy thought as he stepped off by the Lamar theater, and began to walk down the street. A girl on the corner had a beautiful corsage of orchids at her throat, that gave him a good idea. Flowers. The group was looking into florists, after all- the trademark red corsages of the Bloodline had to be coming from somewhere. He'd go looking for some floral shops to help out.

He walked up to the young lady with the corsage and asked about where he might acquire such a lovely flower for 'his girlfriend'. She gave Billy the address- just a block, around the corner, to a small flower shop called Candy's Floral Garden. The sun was just setting low in the sky as he turned the corner. He looked down the street for the correct building in the row of tidy little shops, and took it as a favorable sign when the shop's neon sign was turned on- a flower and the word Candy's in script. Had he been less upset, or more observant, he might have noticed the flower was red. A blood red carnation, in fact. As it was, he just strode in, glancing around the place. Bunches of flowers were arranged in vases and displays, and behind the counter was a beautiful woman with long red hair like a flame, and bright green eyes. "Are you lost, child?" she asked sweetly, smiling a soft, sweet smile.

"No.. not at all. I'm just looking for a flower arrangement," Billy said, crossing to the counter. "With red carnations. My girlfriend loves them."

The woman behind the counter laughed softly. "Does she?"

"Oh, aye. Her favorite flower... " Billy nodded.

"And do you like them?" she asked, coming out from behind the counter, moving towards the flower display.

"They're pretty enough, I suppose, for somethin' the color of blood.." he shrugged.

The woman laughed again. Something in the sound put Billy ill-at-ease, sending a small shiver down his spine. Perhaps this wasn't the brightest of all ideas. He should have asked Olivia or Sally to go with him...

"I... should be going now. I don't see any red carnations, and..." he stammered a bit nervously, backing up towards the door.

"Oh, but you're wrong.. it's all right here..." the woman said with a laugh, spreading her hands wide and causing a gentle shower of poppies to rain over Billy's face.

Billy staggered towards the door... but his legs felt wooden. He felt sleepy, terribly sleepy, and leaned heavily in the doorframe. "What...are..you..." he gasped, sliding down the door, to the floor beneath. The smell of flowers was intoxicating, he wanted to close his eyes, but he knew he mustn't...

"Hush, my angel... everything will be alright when you wake..." the woman whispered, kneeling by Billy's side and caressing his cheek in a mockery of intimacy. "You'll see the pretty flowers soon enough, and oh, by the elder ones, will they love seeing you..."

Her laughter cut through the edges of the blackness, the last thing he heard before sliding fully into the opium-scented oblivion.

Important Notes:
Billy went off on his own after having a vision of the floral shop that was the Sanguinia supplier. The group had to rescue him from a plant-demon, and a crazed sorceress who was part of a group seeking to bring about the return of the Elder gods. Does it have anything to do with the Sanguinia or is it a separate problem? Only time will tell....

Episode 3: Deadly Secrets

There was a terrible feeling of sameness that came, just now, as the observer watched the panoramic view unfold. The fact that he was dreaming was realized, first, in that all the colors were wrong. The actually occurrence had doubtless had some color- the sunset, for example, would have been in hues of bright orange and red. In this version, however, everything was a burnt umber of a color- or perhaps, the sienna tone of an old photograph. The sound, too, was muted- like a silent film, the actors played out their familiar parts without a word. He didn't need the words, however; for he could still recite it all from memory. He had been very small then, playing with tin soldiers in his room, trying to keep out of the way of the angry voices and sharp footfalls, and heavy sighs that permeated his world. His father's face loomed over him in the dream, and he felt the recoil of fear. Smell seemed to work all too well, and the cloying scent of his aftershave was a cloud of malevolence, despite the charming British man's smile. He mouthed the words that the dreamer repeated "Come, son, we're going for a walk."

The boy (with the dreamer within) donned his coat, anticipation quickening his step and lightening his mood. Maybe this was a sign that everything would be alright. Hadn't his father talked, once, about signs? There were portents for everything... omens, and oracles, if one knew where to look. Yes, though the boy had not then understood all the words, they remained, a memory within the memory of the dream. Had he been awake, he might have cried out, as he saw his mother's soft face, her thin lips curled up into the ghost of a smile. She had smiled so rarely by then, it was a treat rarer than ice cream, and the boy drank in the sight of her with eyes that never wanted to forget that moment she took his hand. He never would- the feel of her cold, thin hand sliding almost bonelessly around his smaller one would haunt him for the rest of his days. He loved her beyond measure, so desperately that he was sure he would be lost without her. They began to walk towards the park in the twilight...

Abruptly, the dream shifted, to show the black robed figures.. chanting, coming towards them. The face of the betrayer, Clarissa, with her cold eyes, and charming, seductive smile. Clarissa always smiled, just like that- especially when she had just gotten her way. She kept on smiling as the boy's father lifted him, screaming, onto the makeshift altar between the trees. He felt the cold stone against his back, the rough strands of rope as they bound him securely- tightened by his own father's hands. His fear was so complete that he lost control of his bladder, and that added shame to the mix of emotions that were racing through a brain still not fully developed, and barely able to comprehend the magnitude of the situation. He saw his mother's face, her tears steaming. He watched his father's hand slide around her waist- almost comforting, so familiar.

The man inside the boy knew what came next- he'd had this dream night after night, ever since- and he wanted to cry out, to shout some warning to save her. But the boy's lips were numb with fear, and he could do little more than watch as his father slid the knife in. Color exploded into the dream then, beginning as always with his mother's lifeblood. So crimson, so red against the stark gray as she fell, lifeless to the ground. The color touched then her face, pale and still, her eyes wide open in shock, her mouth wide open in preparation for a scream that would never come. Color spread over everything else in the dream from that point out, in a slow, deliberate process, as the figures began to chant, and his father's mad, mad eyes returned to gaze upon his sacrificial offering... his son. He was almost relieved... for he knew how the dream went from here. From here, there would be his grandfather and the Slayer, brave and sure, saving the day, slaying all but his father- whom Grandfather had spared and taken away to the Watchers for justice. He prayed for the ending, that he might wake sobbing, but be safe again.

Tonight, however, was different. There was no calvery...the ropes seemed instead to fade away. The boy, startled, leapt from the altar and became not the boy, but the man. Disoriented by this unfamiliarity in what had always been a reoccurring dream, he stood, stunned and still and silent. Sound broke the silence of the dream- the sound of laughter, shrill and unhinged. He looked up sharply, and saw a man dressed all in black, with a blood red carnation in his lapel. Though the man's hair was bone white and windblown like a wild thing, his face wasn't all that old. Suddenly, into the focus of his dream came the eyes.. the mad, mad eyes of his father...

"I've been waiting for you, my boy..." he hissed, reaching forward. "I've always been waiting for you..."

He backed away with a shuddering scream... and woke, screaming...

In her bedroom across town, Sally Newman sat straight up in bed, a cold sweat forming near instantly. She recalled what it was that woke her and shivered, despite the sweating... since when had she started sharing Arch's dreams?

Important Notes:
This is where we left off- the group had just investigated a funeral home that the Sanguinia run, and the entire implication of the dream hasn't been realized yet. Was it just a dream, or a portent to come?
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: Led Zepplin - Stairway to Heaven

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