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Item #2 - To Paris With Love



 
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Flahme

A thousand claws gripped her, tearing her body to shreds and the bright light that was the essence of her faded, smothered by darkness from which it could never break free.

An alarm blared loud enough to bring Flahme out of the dark dream she was locked in. Despite the residual darkness from her sleep, she finally felt more refreshed than she had recently. She showered, dressed in jeans that were slightly too big and a jumper that was not overly fashionable. Day by day she had drained Anastasia’s bank account and now had just over five thousand dollars in cash. Her frugal shopping spree had included five pairs of jeans, five jumpers, a range of t-shirts, underwear and socks, the backpack and basic toiletries. She didn’t know when she would come into more money and might need all of this to get out of the country.

She knew that the airport was the focal point for the next object which meant it was in another country, though she hadn’t figured out where. She had no ID, no passport, no way to get one unless she could find someone to make her a counterfeit one.

Picking up the backpack she had purchased the day before she stuffed in two pairs of shoes stolen from Anastasia and laced up the sneakers she had on. She quickly ate breakfast then rinsed and put away the bowl and spoon. With a scarf snaked around her neck, she pulled on a woollen overcoat along with the backpack before stuffing keys and phone into her pocket.

She dropped the apartment keys in a nearby fountain as she passed, they fell and mingled with the few coins already there. Two blocks on from that she allowed her heat to all but melt the phone in her hand before throwing it into a nearby garbage bin as it caught fire. The final piece was the bank card she had used and cut up to tiny pieces. Flahme allowed these to fall a few at a time from her fingers as she walked. The only items she now had of Anastasia’s were the shoes. She wasn’t sure if all she was doing was necessary, but surely it wouldn’t hurt either. Anastasia and Brian would be missing persons.

The biggest problem she now faced was where to get a black-market passport. Her plan consisted solely of finding some unsavoury types that might know who could help her. Surprisingly her idea worked better than expected, and within five hours she was given an address. She purchased a map of the city and set off to find the place.
February 14, 2019 07:23 am

Flahme

The address led her to a dingy looking shop with the entrance down a side alley. As she began to walk towards the shop, she noticed a beggar sitting against the wall, rocking back and forth. He was a small man with a round belly and a shock of black hair sticking every which way. She kept on walking.

“Penny for your thoughts?” A hoarse voice requested. Flahme looked around to realise the beggar was talking to her. She observed the man for a moment, and though she had very little money herself, this person was far worse off. She fished a five dollar note out of her pocket and walked back to him and placed it in a hat that sat in front of him. He nodded to her in thanks, and she nodded and went to move away.

“I said, penny for your thoughts.”

Surprised she stopped and went back. “I just gave you five dollars.”

“Much obliged, I’m sure, but I still want a penny.”

Flahme gaped at the man in disbelief at the audacity to still ask for a penny.

“Or if you don’t have a penny, maybe a coin,” his clear brown eyes looked up slyly at her. “Yeah, a coin, maybe one that’s been taken from a church.”

Flahme’s heart stopped for a second then lurched in her chest, beating fast. “Who are you?”

“Coming to this place. Doesn’t look like your staying out of trouble to me,” the man rasped without answering the question.

“Dan? Is that you?”

He stood and looked her over, then moved towards her in a shuffling manner. “Who’s Dan?”

“I mean, Dantalion,” she looked around the alley. “Sorry, I think I’ve got the wrong person.” She tried to go on her way.

“Oooh, la de da,” the man yells after her. She stops and turns to see him, dancing around doing a jig and pretending to curtsey. “Dan, Dan. He never lets any of us call him Dan. Who are you, the bleedin’ queen?”

“I called him what he told me to.” She put her hands on her hips and stood her ground.

The air crackled around the little man, and tiny sparks of lightning shot out from his body. It subsided when he held her gaze for a long moment then let it go. “Fine. I’m Furfur, and you will only call me by that name. No variant. Not Fur, not Furry, only Furfur. Got it?”

She nodded willing herself not to laugh at his tirade.

“Fine!” he said again. “Good! Now since you have made it this far, you must realise you need to get out of the country.”

She nodded again; perhaps he would transport her there, so she didn’t have to mess about with all of this. “Do you know where I need to go next? And…could you take me there?”

“No, I can’t take you there. It seems your boyfriend overstepped the mark, so we’ve all been told to reel it in. Minimal contact, minimal assistance. You’re, mostly, on your own.”

“However,” he continued, “if you play your cards right in there, you may not have to pay for the passport, if you know what I mean?” he winked and tapped the side of his nose with his pointer finger. When he realised his suggestion was unwelcomed, he continued. “Well then, play it whatever way you like. I can tell you this much, the place you are travelling to is Paris and once there look for Alexander. Sorry, love, can’t give you more than that.” With that said, he disappeared.

She sighed and headed back to the door of the shop where she hoped to procure a black-market passport without being killed.
February 14, 2019 07:39 am

Flahme

Nicks and Nacks stated the sign above the grimy shop entrance, and she wondered how long it took to come up with that name. A bell chimed above her head as she pushed the door open. The ‘Nicks and Nacks’ referred to appeared to be mostly rubbish, old technology sitting on dusty shelves, rundown furniture dotted here and there, dirt and grime everywhere. A young man with messy blonde hair, jeans, a dirty singlet to match the décor and a half-smoked cigarette hanging from his lips looked up at her from a TV on the counter.

“I’m looking for Nicky,” she said.

The man took his time to peel the cigarette from his lips and eye her from head to toe before he blew out the smoke. “You one of his girls?”

“No.” Confusion was evident on her face.

He looked her over again and did a half shrug. “Clean you up a bit; you got a pretty face. Show off your curves in some better clothes. Could get you some work.”

The remark on her clothes hit a nerve. She didn’t have money to waste on nice clothes. “Look, it’s nothing like that, I need to see him about…Is he here or not?”

“Sure, sugar, up those stairs.” He moved around the counter and headed for the door. “I’m off for the day, tell him for me, would ya?” He left without waiting for an answer.

The stairs weren’t any cleaner than the rest of the shop, and she trudged up them until she got to the top where a closed-door greeted her. She knocked.

The door was yanked open by a dark-haired man older than shop guy, also wearing jeans and a singlet only his was clean. He leaned against the jamb with his right arm across the doorway. He also gave her the once over and when he spoke his baritone rolled over her. “Who are you and what do you want?”

These people were not good people, that much was clear to her, but she needed a passport. She also needed a new name, one that humans would buy, Flahme was not a usual sort of name. “Are you Nicky?” he just looked at her. “Um…my name is Jane, and I was told,” she licked her lips and her voice dropped to a whisper, “I could buy a passport from you.”

“Yeah, I’m Nicky.” He stared at her then let his arm drop to allow her into the room. It was nothing like the rest of the place, every surface here was pristine. The workbenches, computer desk, printer area and a small kitchenette all fastidiously clean.

“Oh, your shop…guy, left for the evening. Asked me to tell you.”

Nicky just nodded and went past her and down the stairs. She could hear him lock the shop door and his heavy footsteps as he came back. She went to turn towards him and was pushed face first into a wall, his hands running all over here as if checking for weapons. “I find out you’re a cop, I’ll cut your throat and nobody will find your body,” he whispered in her ear then pushed away from her.

Heart pounding, her core temperature had risen several degrees, and she breathed deeply to calm herself. “I’m not a cop. I need to get to Paris, and I have no legitimate ID to get there.”

“These passports cost two thousand dollars.” His eyes ran over her far too thoroughly for her comfort. “You’re gonna have to show me the cash because you don’t look like you have it.”

“I have it!” Damn, two thousand was a lot, she didn’t know how much the ticket was going to cost her, and with these sorts of expenses, she would have nothing left very soon. Why were people so fixated on her clothes? She pulled her backpack off and rummaged around in it.

“Coz if you don’t.” she jumped when she realised how close he was to her and she backed away until her back hit a wall. He advanced and laid a hand either side of her head then leaned down until his mouth brushed her ear. “You and I could make some other arrangement.” An odd sensation sparked through her entire body.

Nicky pulled back then leaned in as if to kiss her, and as he got close to Flahme’s lips she began to inhale, the golden tendrils of his memory snaked out of his mouth and into hers. She fought it and pulled away, some of his memories sharp in her mind. “I’m sorry,” she choked out.

Breathing heavy she looked to Nicky who stood still as if paralysed; then he turned his head towards her. “Who are you?”

“Jane.”

He slowly looked around the small room as if he had never seen it before. “What is this place? Where am I? How the fvck did I get here?” His voice rose as he asked each question.

Desperately, she looked around wondering what had happened, did she cause amnesia this time? “It’s your shop. I came here to buy a passport from you.”

“The fvck you say? Passports?” He gripped his head and doubled over as if in pain, and when he stood up again, there was blood running from his nose. He was breathing hard, and confusion clouded his eyes. “What did you do to me?” he whispered.

On a surge of sadness, realisation dawned she had stolen pieces of his life that she could not give back. This time she hadn’t meant to, but she had to finish it all the same. “I’m so sorry,” she repeated. In the next instance, she strode to Nicky, wrapped her arms around his neck, laid her lips to his and took every memory from him.
February 18, 2019 06:15 am

Flahme

It didn’t feel like she lost as much time as before when she fell unconscious. She sat up and held her head in her hands for a moment. The knowledge from Nicky was spinning around in her mind, potent enough she was sure she would now be able to make passports for herself.

The first thing was to dispose of the corpse, and she set it alight with her fire then made herself something to eat and drank some water. She found the transfer process draining and needed to refuel quickly after. Once the corpse was burned down, she swept all the ashes into a bag she found under the sink and tied the top off then put it in her backpack. She would get rid of the remains elsewhere.

Breathing deeply, Flahme accessed Nicky’s memories about his business. He had an excellent system as he procured passports during the life cycle of manufacturing, he must have some insiders to help him out. These were effectively original documents. She worked through the night and made four different passports, British, American, Australian and French. She figured the different types would make it easier depending on where she needed to travel.

The four passports along with a substantial amount of cash found in Nicky’s safe would help her predicament. She stuffed it all into her backpack then took Nicky’s keys to let herself out. Dawn was approaching, and she didn’t want to be here when the guy who ran the shop returned.

Heading out she inconspicuously ditched Nicky’s remains and the shop keys in garbage bins found along her way. Using her map of the city, she found a hotel and using her American passport as ID, secured a room where she could get some rest and plan out her next move.
February 21, 2019 05:23 am

Flahme

The biggest issue Flahme faced right now was how to get just over one hundred thousand dollars through customs. The stack was surprisingly small when most the notes were hundred dollar bills, but she still had to hide it. She needed to draw as little attention to herself as possible.

Dan’s words came back to her, about willing things to happen. She breathed deep then visualised the cash not being there. She thought of the intricate pattern of the bedspread and the vivid colours, and how all that would be so clear if nothing were there at all. It took a while, longer than she expected, but eventually, the money disappeared.

A panic set in when the thought struck her the money had disappeared permanently. She reached out her hand and could still feel the money, but not see it. She had rendered it invisible. Flahme blew out a sigh of relief; potential disaster averted.

Before arriving at the hotel, she had picked up a watch and a few new clothes. She now quickly set the stopwatch to see how long the money would remain unseen. She put the TV on and half-heartedly watched whatever came on, her eyes flicking between the invisible money and the TV. At the moment it reappeared she stopped the timer on just stared at the numbers on the screen.

One hour, six minutes, and thirty-six seconds. Huh. What are the odds of that? It was the same amount of time it had taken her to come back to life when Dan killed her. Maybe all her magic, powers, whatever the hell you called it were linked to that timing? And what did it mean?

To be sure she had this under control, she made half a dozen objects in the room invisible along with her cash again and timed them all. At the same time, they all blinked back to visibility. Good, this worked, but she worried that the length of time the items stayed invisible wasn’t long. She hoped it was enough to get through the scans and x-rays at customs.

She awoke at 6 am, having booked and paid for her flight at a travel agent the night before. Packing up her new clothes and all the other items in her backpack she made sure to have the cash directly on top.

So the plan was to disappear the cash just before she checked her baggage onto the flight, doing so as close to the departure time as possible. Thankfully both Anastasia and Nicky had flown internationally, so she had a clue about this from their memories.

This whole thing could go wrong at any stage, which could put her in a jail cell, and for her, that would be tantamount to a death sentence.
February 23, 2019 01:58 am

Flahme

Her plan went off without a hitch, and she breathed easier once she was out of the airport and in a cab going to a hotel near Le Jardin Du Luxembourg. She needed to put this behind her and pick up some things that would help with her next steps. A phone first so she could access the internet. Now she understood what Anastasia was talking about when she mentioned the web. Maybe some more clothes, an actual suitcase and then figure out who the Hell this Alexander is.

The tug in her gut, that told her where the item was, pulled her north. She could try to follow that but who knows how close it was? Maybe she could ‘blink’, which is what she had come to call the strange movement ability she now possessed. Again, how far away was the item? What if she got lost? There were too many things that could go wrong.

Stuffing some cash into her pockets, Flahme was ready to go shopping. The porter at the hotel suggested stores she might visit, and with a small tip, she was on her way.

Half an hour later she stood in front of an array of cell phones with a sales guy chattering on about the benefits of this and that. It was the first time she wanted to kill someone just because they were annoying. The whole set up was confusing, and she turned to the guy talking at her, allowed her eyes to shift to red and hissed. “Get away from me!”

She looked down then up, and her eyes were green again. “When I’ve chosen, I’ll come see you, okay?” He nodded, looking pale all of a sudden, and left her alone.

Breathing deep to calm herself, she returned to the phones.
February 24, 2019 03:37 am

Flahme

By the time Flahme had completed all she had set out to do that day, it was already dark. The Paris streets lit up beautifully by lamplight only to be overridden by the bright shop fronts beckoning would-be shoppers inside. She moved away from the shops and headed towards the river where she purchased a basic dinner. Sitting on a bench eating her sandwich as she overlooked the Seine was the first time since her return to the earthly plane that she felt content and could breathe for a moment.

Riverboats meandered along the river, and she wondered what it would be like to be on one of them. If she lived in this city, she would take time to explore all it has to offer. It smelled old but well lived in, and she wanted to glean its stories, experiences and secrets. As she turned to face the slight breeze coming from the north-east in the hope of catching a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, she felt that tug in her gut. Whatever she was after was that way.

The new phone would charge overnight, and she would start her search for Alexander proper come the morning. Finishing her meagre meal, she turned to move away and slammed directly into a stranger - a tall woman with dark hair and pale skin. The hand that went out to steady her was far colder than it should have been.

"You...you're so cold!" Flahme blurted out.
February 27, 2019 05:56 am

Eloise Buchanan

You're so cold.

By the same token when Elle had touched the girl's arm to steady her, she found the limb was extremely warm. Since humans were her food source, Elle knew their temperature intimately. This warmth was far from normal.

“And you are exceedingly warm,” Elle said. “One might almost say neither of us is the correct temperature to be human.”

Elle had been tracking the girl, something about her was familiar, or perhaps it was the scent of her that was of warmed ginger and cinnamon. She suspected the girl wasn’t entirely human and if her hunch were wrong, she would at the very least make a delicious snack.

The girl was visibly disturbed by Elle’s statement, so she took a further chance. "I’m not human, in case you’re wondering. Vampire, to be exact.” And she let her fangs descend, the lengths gleaming from the lights as she ran a tongue over one of them and winked at the girl. The girl’s eyes grew large in her pale face, but instead of leaning away, she leaned in for a better look.

She took in the girls red hair, green eyes and too pale skin which lead her to believe she was a natural redhead, and medium height with a slight yet curvy figure. She had an air of innocence about her yet showed no fear in the face of something unknown. “You do not show any fear of me. Why is that?”
March 01, 2019 04:42 am

Flahme

Flahme looked up when the woman showed her long white fangs that sat where her incisors should be. She wanted to touch them to see how sharp they were. The memories from both Anastasia and Nicky told her vampires were not real. This person was real; the teeth could be fake.

When the woman asked why she wasn’t scared of her, Flahme allowed her eyes to turn to red then back to green again. That was usually enough to completely freak out any human she had met so if this were cosplay or similar, this would sort the wheat from the chaff, as they say. The woman didn’t flinch, just nodded in acceptance. Okay, so most likely neither of them were human.

“I’m a demon. Well, truly half demon, half witch, but I have been in hell so long I guess the witch part is moot now. My name is Flahme, but I often use Jane so that people don’t ask too many questions.”

She then told the woman her story, and it felt cathartic to relay it all to someone in its entirety. The woman, vampiress, if that is what they call themselves, didn’t interrupt the entire time and took in all she had to say.
March 02, 2019 06:48 pm

Eloise Buchanan

The story was an interesting one though Elle showed no surprise as she listened to it unfold. She took out her phone and noted it was near three in the morning. Surprised at the lateness of the hour she began typing in a query - ‘paris alexander’ – many searches appeared the top three being a spa, a boxer and a bridge.

“My name is Elle.” She said to Flahme. “In case you’re wondering I’m attempting to see if there is any correlation between Paris and Alexander by running a search on my phone. Here’s hoping it isn’t a person or it may take you a long time to locate them.” She glanced at the girl, Flahme, such an odd name yet it very much suited her. She appeared intrigued and nodded vigorously for Elle to continue.

“The first one is a spa…oh, no that is in Washington. A little off the mark. The second one is a boxer, an actual fighter with exactly that name. Also stateside.”

She could feel the girls impatience as if she was sitting next to a burning torch. “Are you alright? You really do get very warm.” Again Flahme nodded and indicated for her to continue.

“Third search, is a bridge.” Elle stopped when she read over the entry. “It’s a bridge here in Paris. Pont Alexandre III, and it’s quite close. If we continue along the Quai de Conti,” Elle pointed in a North East direction, “we will eventually meet the Quai de Orsay. The bridge is near there. I suggest we take the walkway near the river, fewer people around. We could go now, it’s not far, and I’m able to move fairly fast. How about you?”
March 05, 2019 06:43 am

Flahme

Flahme was all but hopping about as Elle completed the internet search, and this was exactly what she planned to do in the morning. Now she didn’t have to wait an extra day. Even better the vampire was going to come with her.

“Yes, yes, let’s go. Right now.” She stood and waited for Elle. At her question about fast travel, Flahme checked no one was about, focused then blinked as far down the path as she could see, immediately she felt Elle next to her and turned with a grin.

In short order they were at the bridge and Flahme could feel the pull of the item, it was here, at the other end of the bridge. But there were still a few people around.

She grabbed Elle’s arm and pulled her to the northern end of the bridge stopping dead beside one of the cupid sculptures that surrounded a lantern. She looked up at the structure and noticed a small scallop shell decoration set above the heads of the cupids. She knew where the object was.

“I have to climb up this thing, you don’t happen to have a knife or screwdriver or such?” she asked Elle, fully expecting her not to have either.

The woman looked at her a moment then took something out of her pocket, flicked it open and passed it to Flahme handle first. It was a very sharp knife.

“Keep a look out!” She said to Elle as if that was going to do any good.

Like a spider monkey, she clambered up the base of the sculpture then hoisted herself up further using the middle column, so she stood on the same platform as the cupids. Using the knife, she attempted to pry open the shell decoration, but it wouldn't budge. She tried different angles looking for a place the blade might work, all to no avail. She used her fingers next to push the scallop to one side; again nothing worked.

Pulling back to look at the shell more objectively she momentarily forgot where she was perched and almost fell, grabbing quickly for anything her fingers found purchase on a curlicue just about the shell. As she took hold of it, the piece moved under her hand, and the scallop flicked open to reveal a tiny shelf with a small pearl nestled on it.

Flahme managed to catch herself before falling then stared in awe. She very carefully pulled the pearl out and tucked it into the small money pocket of her jeans. Pushing the scallop back into place she heard a click and all was as it should be. How long had that been there? She wondered.

She jumped down and nodded at Elle. “I got it!”

A flash appeared, and Flahme noted everything except herself came to a standstill. Elle and a few stragglers on the bridge were all frozen; the air was still, there was no sound at all. She spun around to understand what happened when she saw the little demon she met a few days ago. Was it only days?

“So, you’ve found my pearl?” Furfur asked without preamble. Flahme nodded and handed it over.

He stared for a long time at the item, just as Dantalion had. What is with these demons and their precious? Unlike Dantalion, Furfur showed little emotion.

“Thanks, I’m glad to have this back. Now, as much as I have little love for vampires, this one is about to give you good advice. Take it so you can be somewhere safe, at least some of the time.” He paused and looked at her strangely. “Your father says hello and to not lose hope.” With that, he disappeared, and immediately the world sprang back to life.

She turned to Elle to return her knife, holding it out to her. “All done; thanks for your help.”
March 05, 2019 06:47 am

Eloise Buchanan

With eyebrows furrowed, Elle glanced around feeling she had lost time. Flahme was stood directly in front of her holding her balisong in an attempt to give it back. The girl carried it, so the blade pointed towards Elle, who gingerly grasped the handle and flicked it closed before depositing it once again in her pocket.

All done, thanks for your help.

“What just happened?” she asked. The girl shrugged and continued to look at her as if expecting something. Elle sighed. “Demons and witches, always up to something. I swear us vampires are the closest to normal in this place.”

She reached into her jacket and came out with a small card, she wrote a couple of names and cell phone numbers on it then handed it to Flahme. “This is the number for our coven leader and head of security. Call either one of them, and they can arrange to talk with you and see if you are a good fit. I can see you’re out here alone and it’s too difficult to survive like that. A coven will give you a roof over your head, along with good people who will care about you.”

Elle smiled at the girl and hoped to see her in the Menagerie soon. “I have to go catch a snack. Hope to see you soon.”
March 05, 2019 06:52 am

Flahme

Flahme was thrilled with the night’s work and blinked back to her hotel in careful stages. Once in the hotel, she sat cross-legged on the bed and studied the card Elle had given her. She made sure to charge her new phone so she could call one or both of the numbers first thing in the morning.

And so it turned out she got an appointment with one Dessa Chambers. She packed all that she owned into her backpack and headed off to meet with her feeling that things were starting to look up. Two items completed, eleven to go, she sighed wondering when her next clue would arrive.
March 05, 2019 06:54 am
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