Meeting the Good One

Leon had been busy, as of late. Not that he was wasn't always busy but lately the work was more and everything seemed to be important.

The Nosferatu had been glad to learn Jai had returned. Having leeway where Leon didn't made the Sheriff best tasked with finding the childe of the Prince.

Leon had the Butcher investigation and the investigation into Quinn's Sire already to deal with. Then there was the third investigation, the one he was looking more into tonight. The cult and the strange woman who seemed to run it.

He had looked into the blood bags the woman had discarded the first night he had trailed her. They had been wrapped in black cellophane.

When asked, Quinn only knew the woman never bought more than just enough blood and it always had been wrapped in black cellophane. Quinn had no idea why and would have been bad business practice to question it besides it wasn't, by far, the oddest request Quinn had ever received.

Leon had decided tonight to go to the bookstore. It should be opened and even if it wasn't it would be for him. Stores couldn't have wards, after all.

Upon arriving though, he noticed it was opened. He slipped for a moment behind some trees and changed his appearance to a man with red curly hair and brown eyes. He didn't need her knowing the Nosferatu was investigating her. 'Well, I guess its time to meet you Miss St. Claire.' He thought to himself.

Taking little time to do so, Leon, crossed the street and headed into the bookstore.

The inside of St. Claire's Used Books, was dimly lit and the air was thick and heavy with the smell of old paper and poorly circulated air. The displays ran directly to the front counter, a long glass island in an angled U shape. The shelves lined with books, seemingly the ones with covers the owner found most interesting facing out the rest only had spines on display.

Nearly all the books were worn, creased covers, dog eared pages, water stains, you name it. But a fair few were long out of print so it was likely here would be the only place you could find a copy.

Sitting at the counter was the woman in question, though her body language was night and day from the previous observation. She had her face buried in a book. It wasn't until Leon stepped on a creaky floor board that she looked up with a warm smile. "Good Evening. Welcome to St. Claire Used Books." She beamed, the Saint sounding more like Shaint "Is there anything you are looking for in particular or are you just browsing?"

Leon took stock of the bookstore. It seemed like the kind of place that might house secrets among the pages or so certain works of fiction would have one believe.

The woman behind the counter seemed pleasant and unassuming. This was the Malkavian that had been in the relatively thin file the Nosferatu had on her. She seemed just like the description.

"Just browsing." Leon responded. "I am a collector of rare books and thought your shop might have something to suit me."

While, Leon was actually here for a different reason, the rest wasn't a lie. He did have a collection of rare books. They helped sometimes with his research.

"Well." Lucille said, "I've got a lot of books, I'm sure you'll find something." she replied.

Lucy watched him look at books and put them down again. "If you are looking for something really rare." she spread her arms out showing the glass display. "I keep them safe behind glass." she said.

"Fiction on the right, non-fiction down the middle and occult on the left." Lucy said placing her hands on the counter and giving the customer her attention if she was needed.

The books in the case peaked Leon's interest. He glanced down towards them.

The woman was nothing like the woman who had run the cult meeting. None of this made much sense.

"So, how long has this bookshop been here?" Leon knew the answer but was trying to start a conversation to get a better feel for the proprietor.

Lucille tapped a finger against her chin and cocked her head towards the ceiling. "Hmmm...This location about 10 years, store itself has been around almost 30. I think." she said with a small laugh. "You know how time is, runs together and stories of the past get muddled."

"Place we were at before got damaged by flood water, I can't say this place faired much better." she said, "But that's just what happens when you are so close to hurricane zones I guess." she gave a tiny shrug.

"Many places got damaged in that storm." Leon nodded.

His focus seemed to turn back towards the books. "I see here you have a first edition of the Grammaire Egyptienne. Is that the 1836 or the 1841 version?"

He wasn't expecting this but Leon might actually buy something from the woman. The Grammaire Egyptienne was a very rare as it was the first work to ever translate Egyptian hieroglyphics. It was written in French and while Leon had sought this book, he had never actually found one.

Lucy's face lit up. "Oh!" she said cheerfully, "A man of refine. Not many would know or care about such a book." she paused a moment. "Least not around these parts." she tapped on the glass above the book. "That copy happens to be the 1836 print. Missing a few minor details when compared to the 41, but...the older one is harder to find." Lucy steepled her hands on the counter. "It's quite a rare book. Museum piece really." She said, her tone slipping to slight seriousness.

But a beat passed and she was all smiles again. "So if you want buy it I'd be glad to give send it to a home it'll be appreciated, but..." she looked at him again. "I only take cash for the books in the case. Can't very well sell a book this rare and have a check bounce or a payment get canceled."

At this point Leon was even slightly questioning if he had followed the correct woman home that night after witnessing the cult. He knew it was her but Lucy didn't seem anything like he expected.

"Of course. I have an interest in ancient languages. Well, I would like to buy it but would have to come back with the cash." Unless, she under or overestimated the amount, the book should be in the neighborhood of about $6,000 - $7,000.

Back to the actual reason he was here. "Would you have any books about cults? Maybe, cults that have been forgotten through the ages."

Leon just really wanted to see her reaction to that question.

Lucille tilted her head in thought. "Forgotten?" She lightly mumbled. "I've got a lot on cults." She said, "But forgotten? How do you mean? Like unpopular enough they weren't talked about or old enough they weren't written about?" She asked.

"Older. Like ones who haven't been written about a great deal. The books on them would be considered collectors items. Doomsday cults are of particular interest." Leon responded.

Lucy listened to the man's request, "Hmmm." she said as she looked at the case then to a curtained off back area. "I'm not sure, I'd have to take a look." She said.

"Most cult stuff I have is more recent but I might have a few." she closed her eyes wracking her brain. "I know I have one on Rajneeshpuram, but that's a cult from the 80's so not grand scheme old." she continued to think, "I have one on Heaven's Gate, two on the Manson Family, one on The Children of God, one on The People's Temple and Jamestown."

Lucy listed off several more 'well known' cults that would likely only be of interest as comparison study for what ever the man was looking for. Lucy mumbled a moment before her eyes opened again, "I just remembered two special books. One is one that Chinigchinich Cult, they used hallucinogenic Jimson weed in their practices, that cult is from the 1700's no exact date, or The Reformed New Testament Church of the Faith of Jesus Christ, that's from the mid 1800's." she offered as suggestions. "The former is less dooms day but still odd, the latter is sort of 'air quotes' dooms day." she explained.

While listening to the woman discussing the books on cults, Leon used his Auspex to look beyond her physical appearance.

A mix of colors not visible to most eyes appeared. The colors of vermillion, violet, and white with a static like appearance surrounded Lucy. Interesting

"Well, I'll to think on those but I'll come back with the money for the other," Leon then added. "I'm going to look around a while."

He wanted to get an idea if what she was like when no one was talking to her but he was getting the feeling this meeting was about as helpful as it was going to get.

"Okay, I'm here if you need me." Lucy said.

Once the man had stepped away Lucille pulled a cup from under the counter, one of the ones made from plastic but made to look like a Styrofoam cup. Lucy closed her eyes and took a long sip. Her eyebrows scrunched and her free hand gripping the lip of the counter. After taking a drink she stowed the cup back under. Had Leon been looking at her Aura he'd have seen that static, but the colors would have become Orange and Gray.

Lucy turned her attention back to the man "I'll look at my books in the back after closing and when you come back I might have more." she offered. "I can't make promises."

Leon had an idea of what he might be dealing with here. He would have to do some consulting in books and perhaps a few other places to know for sure.

Every Malkavian has a derangemen. The thing was limited them enough so Leon was guessing at a lesser amount. Meeting Lucy certainly helped with that.

"I'd appreciate that." Leon commented. "I'll take these for now."

Leon put two books he had pulled out of the shelves, one on the history of the French language and the other on ancient Greek. He figured he'd buy something.

Once he was done paying for the books, Leon commented. "I'll be back tomorrow night with the money."

He took the books he had just purchased and left.

< Prev : On the case Next > : A Different Kind Of Threat