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A Thistle among Roses: Part III: Death and Deliverance

Introduction to A Thistle among Roses
The following text is meant to represent diary excerpts written by my character (Julie “Thistle” Simons) in our current Vampire: the Masquerade chronicle, but there are a few things I would like to say about this project before I set out. To start with, I am entirely new to Vampire and I have been miraculously avoiding the game until very recently. Therefore, it seemed fitting to play a character who knows about as much about the world as I do. She was embraced two weeks prior to play and therefore shares my own confusion and ignorance about what is so cool about vampires.

Furthermore, this is an experiment in writing fiction in English, something I have not done before to any great extent (I cannot remember a single instance, actually). The text is deliberately pretentious in style, which feels somewhat odd, because that is not a style I would ascribe to myself normally. However, I will do my best to capture the world of my character as I perceive it, whilst trying to keep at least some dignity. Any kind of feedback is welcome as long as it is contstrucive and I would like to say thank you to those of you who have already contributed.

Some problems will arise for those of you who are not fluent in Swedish, since I do not intend to reproduce material already existing in Swedish (like information about the other characters, for instance). Apart from that, I hope that the diary will speak for itself, so now the time has come for me to step aside and let Thistle in.

A Thistle among Roses so far
Part I: Omega Alpha
Part II: Dead in a City that Sleeps
Part III: Death and Deliverance

Some useful links
Wikipedia entry on Vampire: the Masquerade
Discussion thread on Rollspel.nu (in Swedish)
Thistle described in that thread (also in Swedish)

Part III: Death and Deliverance
A faint breeze touching my face, the muffled sound of traffic, a chink of light between the heavy curtains; slowly I opened my eyes. I inhaled, felt the cool morning air fill my lungs, and as I exhaled, I let the nightmare flow out and dissolve. As usual, the illusion felt frighteningly real and with its clutches driven deep into my still drowsy soul, it refused to let go. Gradually as I breathed, reality returned and the night’s dream gradually faded into memory, one bit at a time. Breathing in…

…breathing out, standing outside the derelict building, the others engaged in conversation about how to best charge the occupants and free the sheriff. They went in, leaving Sam and myself outside in the chill, dank air. Realising that the two figures were gone from the room, we tried to warn the others, but it was too late. Gunfire erupted from inside the building and after some confused commotion of noise and fighting, one of the figures had disappeared and the other was unconscious.

…breathing out, back at the Elysium, trying to find somewhere safe to put the rescued sheriff. Two strange figures arrived, allegedly goons sent by Robert’s mentor. After some questioning, they left with both the sheriff and the captured man, or whatever he was, who had been torturing the sheriff. Sam was acting more strange than usual, and invoked on us his bizarre interpretation of the word “art”, using only a severed arm and the brick wall of the Elysium.

…breathing out, Robert ordering me to follow him to his apartment and me refusing. Oh, how I wish he wouldn’t be so obstinate. I would’ve liked to tell him I was sorry, but I instead I became angry and yelled at him again. I tried to resist when I grabbed me and shoved me into the boot of his car, and I might actually have had a chance to get away if it hadn’t been for Sam, the bastard. I thought he was on my side, but obviously not. I was all alone.

…breathing out, lying sprawled on the floor of Robert’s apartment, realising that he has passed out. Feeling a heavy tiredness coming over me, I went to sleep, curled up in a corner. Sam avoided me, and I couldn’t believe why he had betrayed me like that, why he had taken sides against me. Then, finally I fell asleep and the dream ended, or so I thought.

More urgent matters of the day forced out the memories of the night, today was the first examination on the course in mathematics and I had to pass, because otherwise my meddlesome parents would cause problems. I spent the entire day revising, but even though the understanding was there, I never seemed to be able to apply it to the questions asked. At noon, I left for the university and took the exam. Leaving, I thought I’d failed. I went home, fell asleep early, exhausted by the mental effort.

And then the coin of dreams flipped again, and waking up, realising I was in Robert’s apartment, I panicked. The memory of my day of studying receded and the imminent terror I felt the night before began to return. Robert and Sam still seemed to be asleep, so I slipped out and hurried towards the university. Behind me, I could almost feel how they woke up, how they would start searching for me to bring me back among their horrible midst. Ahead of me, I had an exam to pass, having made a special arrangement enabling me to do it in the evening. The questions were exactly the same and the answers flowed from my mind onto the paper without effort. Handing in the exam after a third of the allowed time, I felt sure I had nailed it.

I felt a pang of nausea as I closed the door behind me, and had to lean on the wall for support as I dragged myself to the bathroom. I felt like I had been depraved of something essential for months, I felt hunger, lust, thirst, need for… no, I wasn’t yet prepared to follow that line of thought to its obvious conclusion. In a few minutes, my actions would soon show what was true anyway. Inside the ladies’ room, there was a girl standing in front of one of the mirrors, brushing her blonde hair from her temples. I don’t know what triggered my reaction, but it might have been the sight of her pale, vulnerable neck.

As I hit her from behind, her forehead shattered the mirror into a hailstorm of glass, falling with us towards the tiled floor. Blood spurted from a gash over her left eyebrow and not being able to control myself, I began licking it desperately, tearing at the edges of the wound, trying to increase the flow. It felt like having walked through a thousand mile desert, almost dying of thirst, and then being offered one droplet of life-giving water at a time. I craved more. Ignoring her frail, flailing arms, I slammed her head backwards into the floor, exposing throbbing arteries. Instead of just sinking my teeth into the poor girl, as I had done with the young man in the park, I tore at the flesh, ripping tissue and severing blood vessels. I’m surprised that I managed to drink any of it, because it was cascading in such quantities that most of it must surely have been splattered onto the floor, my clothes and the dying female struggling underneath me. When it was all over, I experienced the strangest feeling, as if I had cheated my way into paradise.

I must have passed out for a few seconds, because when I woke up, the feeling of bliss was gone and understanding what I had done, a mounting despair grew in my heart. Her innocent, young body was sprawled on the floor, a pool of blood still expanding as I watched. There was blood and glass everywhere, but instead of the attraction I’d just felt to it, I felt only aversion and anguish. Not only had I done again what I did to the young man in the park, but this time, I had also killed someone, I had done to her what was done to me two weeks ago. It had to end, and it had to end now.

Not knowing quite how I got there, I found myself on the rooftop, balancing on the edge of a fifty-foot drop. I looked across the skyline, the sky to the west still bearing the fading colours of the dying day, I realised that I did not belong here. What I once had been was stolen from me and I had become part of a nightmare. For two weeks, I lived with it, because it affected only me. Until tonight. Slowly, I leaned forward and began to fall to the ground, towards death and deliverance.

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