This week we are taking a trip back in time. A flashback if you will. Focusing on an NPC in the ongoing closed campaign of Rot Under Paris, this story is designed to provide extra intrigue and mystery, as well as being fun to write.
An old run down apartment in Magdeburg, 1983. God he hated the stench in here, a mixture of dust, old urine and…
“For fucks sake Johnson you know cigarettes don’t do shit to you anymore!” He shouts, his voice a mixture of gravel and a thick German accent. The mocking voice of the girl in biker leathers travels back across the dead room to meet him.
“Heh, keeps me on edge. Why Freddie, afraid of a little spark?” With that she flicks the cigarette towards him, the red hot ashes causing him to flinch just a little. A scream rang out from one corner of the room. Friedrich turned.
“Stop tormenting the boy Hagar, we’ve got what we need from him why don’t you just finish the job?”
The suited figure turned, a look of boredom on his face, before replying in a sultry tone, only lightly affected by a Scottish lilt.
“Eh, just having some fun. I like watching his little fingers grow back after I slice ‘em off. The way they wiggle out of the sockets like little maggots…”
He stares off into the distance for a few seconds before sheathing his wicked switchblade and throwing the almost still body of the young Brujah towards Friedrich. Within a moment the head is gone and the body is disintegrating into ash. That reminds him, he really needs to sharpen this blade…
It was night 3 of what the Archbishop was calling ‘Operation Mercy’. Operation Mercy, what a fucking joke, Operation Slaughter was more apt. The Crooked Fangs and Laughing Angels had isolated small parts of the city, checking all routes out for signs of any Anarchs trying to flee, meanwhile his pack, the Bloodied Knives, were to flush out and kill any Anarchs within. It was a brutal operation, and already he had personally ended at least 30, with the pack’s count standing at 57. It would be over soon, this was the last night of butchery, the last night before he could return to. Return to. What did he have to return to? This was his life. This was all he had ever known since that shovel had graced the back of his head and he had awoken with a burning hunger 6ft underground. He remembered that night vividly, he remembered tearing the throat out of that poor fucking woman, that woman that had tried so hard to dig her way out as well, it was a shame they didn’t give the new bloods any food and just expected the strong to feed on the weak. But he was stronger than all of them. Just 6 years after his embrace he had already become a Ductus and molded his pack into the most effective fighting force in eastern Germany.
“Hey, sorry to break up the moody thinking but we have a job to do. When are we doing it?” Came Brooke’s voice from the centre of the ritual circle she had established.
“Alright alright, do we have Caine’s blessing?”
“As much as we ever will Ductus”
“Then let’s get going!” he barked. The four stood up from their various perches, steeling themselves for the night ahead. Friedrich could hear the labored breathing of Johnson’s hounds, horrible mutts bristling with unnatural spines and protrusions. Could hear as they growled with attention at the slightest movement of the hand from their master. Could feel the unnerving presence of Hagar as his lanky frame sauntered towards the door and his cold blue eyes pierced into the night air. With a flick of a wrist from Friedrich they were gone, just another shadow in the cool Autumn night.
Half an hour later they had made it to the club. He could smell the kine inside, fresh, juicy, poignant. He shook himself free, he had a job to do, they all did. Without warning the group lept into action, Hagar expertly placing the point of the switchblade to the bouncer’s throat, with a push and a twist he was gone, dropping to the ground. Johnson whistled and her four hounds dashed inside. It was at that point the screaming began.
With a soaring leap he was halfway up the side of the building and scrambling. He could hear Johnson cackling behind him as she pulled her whip from her belt and made her way inside, could hear the cracks as she began to drop more and more of the crowd. It was a distraction he knew, a bait to draw the Anarchs from their holes to defend their cattle. He paid it no mind. He knew down below him Brooke would already be halfway through melting the metal doors of the club shut, forcing the occupants to flee via the door or be massacred. And he knew all too well what lay that way… Metre by metre he made his way up, his scarred hands gripping into the edifice of the club as he climbed. One more night. He reached the top, no door. Shit.
Then, with a colossal effort, he brought his fist down into the roof, applying the full weight of his body. It shattered, and he found himself falling into the top floors of the club, surrounded by piles of rubble. Immediately the drug dealer that had at that moment been making a deal with a client pulled his Walther P5 from his waistband. Too slow. Friedrich could feel tendons and muscle tearing as he popped the dealer’s head from its socket with a meaty ripping noise. The young couple in front of him screamed as the blood hit them. With a clean motion their bodies tore open with gashes as the horrifying monster brought his sword across them. Downstairs he could hear gunfire, he knew he didn’t need to worry though. Brooke’s wards and Johnson’s unique ability to place her bones exactly where they could deflect fire meant bullets meant little to her.
It was only twenty minutes later that Friedrich sat in the dim light of the club surveying the piles of corpses. No witnesses were the orders. And so, any witnesses were massacred. Johnson’s hounds were even now picking at scraps of flesh and gristle.
“What’s your count Freddie?” came her voice.
“Only six tonight, most of them fled and didn’t even try and fight.”
“Oh well that explains why Brooke caught so many coming down the stairs, ain’t that right Brooky?”
“Thirteen.” Came the bemused reply from Brooke.
Suddenly a scream came from the Caitiff Hagar had left alive in the corner. As Friedrich looked he could see the poor thing, half flayed, their body desperately attempting to mend itself and failing as more and more was cut by the wicked switchblade. He felt a blood red tear streak down his face. He couldn’t take it any more. Suddenly he stiffened, remembering the company he was in, realizing how quickly he would be exiled or torn to shreds. If it wasn’t for that bloody valauderie he would leave by himself. Go to Berlin, he heard it was safe there. Maybe even Paris…
Cover art by Robert Frank