I finished my pumpkin pie and took a cup of coffee to go. The walk to the Apex Unlimited Building across the street was strange. It felt like I crossed a line. A shiver ran through my body as I stepped up on to the curb. It looked and felt like any other mall I’d ever been in. Except I hadn’t been in any mall in the past few months. It was all memories I couldn’t exactly touch, only in drabbles.
I looked around the lobby and straight up into the middle of the building itself. It was like a giant tube all the way up. And in the center was a glass elevator that made me shiver.
This whole place gave me a bad vibe. My gaze followed the elevator down. I saw the coffee shop that was a vampire haunt – served blood in their coffee. I turned and saw a statue in the middle of the lobby.
It drew me in. I walked over to it and then around it. The man holding up a globe was classical mythology. Atlas was the son of titans he held the heavens above the earth as punishment for siding with the Titans when they rose up against the gods. The myth came easily to mind – I’d learned it somewhere. The globe above his head was made of glass filled with dirt and growing grass, and inside clouds formed and rained down upon the grass. Small ants lived inside, a trail of them could be seen leaving and entering their home inside, tunnels around the outside edges showed their home inside. Someone had taken great care in this piece.
The gold plaque that adorned the base of the statue was worn away – unreadable. But I knew it hadn’t always been that way. It wasn’t that old, yet the letters were not readable.
A man came up to me and stood there standing in the sunlight that bathed the statue. “I never really trusted the Venatori.”
I looked towards the man. He was wearing a white shirt with an open collar, not a business shirt, more like a tunic with leather cords to tie up the front. It looked rustic, maybe he was a LARPer. Or maybe he thought it was fashionable, but on him it looked right. He held out his hand and wondered, “There is magic all around, and a friend made a ring so the sun would not burn, but I didn’t beleive. Faith was required.”
I laughed, “Those sound like words you’ve spoken before.”
“I think I have.” He smiled revealing the fangs he had been hiding moments earlier. “Domonic Olmos sends you after a girl. I wish to help. For a returned favor.”
“What’s that favor?” I asked.
“In the same infirmary is a boy, a troubled boy. A friend of mine dreamt of this boy, and his demons and wishes to save him. He saw you, and me.”
“How do you know this boy we are to save?”
He shook his head, “I don’t. But I’m told the demons are familiar and that it is our responsibility to help him.”
He laughed, “Me and mine. We dispatched the demon that plagued the boy, now he wakes and is deemed crazy – which he is not – the same as the girl you free.”
“Did The Alpha know you would be here?”
“There has been talk of a combined effort to free those we could. He deemed you expendable, but my friends do not. Well the dreamer does not. And when he says something we believe.”
He laughed, “Prophetic dreams. Not a stalker.”
“You know who I am?”
He nodded, “I do. We have mutual acquaintances. But I’m not here on his behalf, just the little dreamer.”
“I’m Nox.” I extended my hand.
“Vincent Ricci. But you can call me Vin like everyone else.”
“A pleasure Vin. So where exactly are we going?”
“Nearly to the top.”
“Can we take the stairs?”
Vin looked to the elevator and then past them to the stairs. “If you can keep up.”
I looked at the glass tube leading up. “I don’t want to ride in that thing.”
Vin laughed and we headed for the stairs. “We can take a break when you need to, there is no rush.”