The First Ever Straw Dog Society Chain Story
written by James Zarones, Brighton Wood, and Robert Michaud

Part Three of Many

     To try to understand why Michael turned south on 3rd street is a waste of time.  His apartment was 5 blocks west of his position.  Michael stared up at the green sign that proclaimed 3rd streets location, and directions.  Michael nervously glanced at the building in the distance that would bring him peace for the time being.  With a hesitant last glance, Michael began his journey into his new world.

      “This part of the city is really in need of some attention,” Michael muttered aloud.

      The sidewalks were covered in spiderweb cracks.  They moved up and down the entire length of it.  Several liquor stores were in view from his spot on the sidewalk.  A pornography store and a pawn shop were on the other side of the street.  The people that lived in this part of town didn’t wear as nice of clothing, most of it looked like old hand me downs.  Though the drastic drop in social class had not been so abrupt, much of Michael’s surprise came from the fact that Michael had not been paying much attention as he moved farther and farther away from safety. 

      Michael pulled his leather jacket more closely to himself.  The worn in brown bomber jacket was a familiar thing to him.  Pulling it closer was not a response to temperature, as that no longer was a concern to him.  It was more a way of shielding him from the many unknown on the street, one of them being why he was headed this direction. 

    I really should get control of myself.  The thought moved through his mind, and the moment it did he felt sad, because he knew that he couldn’t.  Knew that it was very probable that he would never again totally have a grip on firm reality.  He felt that it was more likely that he would slowly become even more estranged to it.  This recent madness was like an undertow in reality, slowly pulling him away from the shores of the sane. 

      Lost in his lamentations of the past, Michael bumped into a man trying to hail a taxi.  The man looked at him with a snarl on his face, which quickly turned to a mixture of fear and anger. 

      “Fuck! You’re covered in blood! Hey somebody stop this guy, he’s covered in blood!” the old man yelled.

      A look of horror washed onto Michael’s face.  He instantly broke into a run down the street.  People turned and looked at him, their faces preaching their judgement, their fear, their hatred.  Michael saw this and tears began to once again stream down his face.  He ran faster and faster until he came to an alleyway and ducked into it. 

      “Oh God Oh God Oh God Oh God, people can see me.  They will know.  I'm so far away from home.  Oh God why does it have to be this way.  This isn't how it used to be.” 

    Michael became frantic as he worked himself up even more.  He sat down and crossed his arms on his knees.  Michael buried his face into his arms and began sobbing quietly to himself. 

      “Why would someone do this to me.  Why?” he asked rhetorically.

      “Actually I am sorry that it happened this way.  I’m sorry that it happened at all.  I don’t know what I can say to make you feel better, I don’t know if there’s anything I can say to make you feel better.  But I can give you answers.”

      Michael looked up with a mix of shock and confusion.  Staring at the man he realized that this was the same one that he had seen in his apartment, the same one that he encountered in the alley way.

      “Who are you?!  Have you been following me?” Michael accused.

      “I am Dimitri.  Primogen of clan Malkavian, child of Malkav, and sire to you.  First, I apologize for what I have done to you.  I once promised never to inflict this on someone else, I am not fond of assaulting innocence.  The dreams kept coming, and the signs demanded it.  How is it that you have learned to use the powers of your blood so quickly?  The speed at which you learn is baffling.”

      Michael’s first impulse was to respond with violence.  He almost leapt on the man, but something held him back.  The man was dressed in a beautiful outfit that looked like it would better suit the Emperor of China, than this man.  He was quite a large man, standing an impressive 6 foot something.  He had long auburn hair that poured down part of his back.  He had a confident stance, and large blue eyes that were a perfect reflection of those Michael possessed. 

      “Why did you do this to me!” Michael hissed.

      “Actually I don’t fully know the answer to that question.  I have had visions of you, you will indeed be important in the coming nights, though I cannot know how as that has not been revealed to me yet.  I also know that my end is near, but I don’t fear it because I know it is inevitable.  Many forces move against me, even as we speak.  I am actually excited- soon I will know something that no living or unliving person on this planet knows.  I do not know why you have been chosen, but I will make sure you are ready.  In the meantime, I will tell you everything I know about our people.  We have less than an hour until the sun rises, I shall see you tomorrow night young one.

      Before Michael could get a word in, the man slowly faded away into nothingness.  Michael stared as hard as he could down the alleyway, focusing with infinite intensity. He did indeed see the movement of a blurry figure in his peripheral vision, but when he turned to see it, it was gone.

      Michael stood up and brushed the dirt off himself.  He looked at his shirt and pants and flinched, his shirt, hands and pants were covered in dried blood tears.  It looked like he had just cut someone open and taken a bath in it.  Michael promised himself that he would take a shower and buy some new clothing if he could afford it.  The thought of other people seeing him also sent a shiver down his spine, he tried to imagine himself invisible, but even trying to do something like that made him feel like he was giving into his madness.  Instead, he decided to pretend that nothing strange had happened to him in the past few months, that he still looked like, talked like, and dressed like he used to.  Strangely Michael felt satisfied that he could put up with people until he got home. He stepped out onto the sidewalk and began jogging North up third street.

      Though not exactly bursting with joy, Michael felt comfort in the thought that he had a friend, or someone who would at least guide him.  Michael realized as he pushed open the door into the building that his hunger was about where it was before he fed.


      “Please mom I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to.  I’m sorry.  Please Mom, Oh God I swear it was a mistake.”  He had to choke down his emotions this time, he was afraid it might anger his mother to break down while he talked to her.  She didn’t respond to his words so he was left to contemplate the dead man in the alleyway. 

    Did he have a family?  Mom said probably. I do deserve this.  When will it end.  Why can’t I be normal again. 

      Michael stepped into the elevator and the doors closed.  The old machinery sluggishly ground to life and the elevator moved up with a jolt.  It seemed to take an eternity for the elevator to climb a single floor, though in reality it was just forty seconds.  The machine made a buzzing sound to let Michael know that the ride was over.  The large gray metal doors slid open and revealed the desolate second floor of his apartment building.  Not a single soul lurked in the hallway this early in the morning, it was 5:07, in a mere ten minutes, the sun would rise.  In a little less than an hour, most tenants would get and begin getting ready to work their dead end jobs.

      Michael rolled those thoughts around in his head.  He used to think about the people in this building, even before his life had changed.  He used to wonder why they accepted life the way it was for them.  Now he knew.  He knew that they accepted it because they were trapped.  They were trapped like him and there was nothing he or they could possibly do to escape it.  For a moment Michael felt protective of the people in his building, felt like they were in his same situation for but a single second, then he remembered that tonight someone had died because of his carelessness.

      Michael went to put his key in the lock of his door.  A tremor of fear gripped his heart when he realized that his door was slightly ajar.  Michael knew that he had not done this, remembered quite clearly locking his door on his way out, as he had done for years in an unbending habit.  Michael pushed the door open and slipped his head inside.  He glanced around, but did not see anything out of the ordinary.  The pictures of his mother glared at him, they warned him to be careful.  She was much prettier in these pictures than she was now that she was quasi alive again.  Michael closed the door, turned the lock and then set the chain on it. 

    If there’s a thief here, he probably knows I’m a vampire.  I don’t know how he would know that I’m a vampire, but I’m sure it would be pretty obvious. 

For a moment it dawned on him that his logic was not making a logical jump from A to B in his conclusions.  Michael grew angry with this revelation. 

    He’ll know what I am because I’m a freak!  He’ll tell everyone.  God what am I going to do.  I can’t let him leave, I can’t kill someone though.  Maybe if I just threaten him or something…

      There was nobody in Michael’s living room so he slowly crept towards his bedroom and glanced in.  A pale boy lay passed out on the floor in his bedroom.  The boy was wearing a trench coat of some kind- it had been crumpled by the boy’s apparent fall.  Michael stared down and him and noticed that he was lying on his goblet.  The boy’s hand was twitching and he was muttering something in his sleep.  

    Maybe he’s a vampire too?  The thought actually lifted Michael’s spirit for a moment, it had been months since he had had a real friend.  He might be a vampire… He did drink from my Goblet, or it looks like he did.  His skin is really pale.  Crap, I dunno what to do, I suppose I could call the police. 

    Something inside Michael told him that he had but moments until the sun would rise.  Michael reached into his closet and grabbed some rope that he had on the top shelf.  He put the boy’s hands behind his back and began tying them together.  Michael knew nothing about knots, so he just tied lots and lots of knots of his own creation.  Michael then took off his blood soaked (and still damp) t-shirt and tore off a shred of it, he wrapped that around the boys face and created a makeshift gag.  Normally this kind of behavior would make Michael break down, but he feared the sun even more than his mother, it was sheer terror that made Michael move with such speed.  Michael closed the curtains and locked his door.  Quickly he grabbed a pen off of his nightstand and began scribbling a note to the boy.

      “I am sleeping right now.  I will wake up around ten or so.  Then we will talk about why you’re in my room and what you know.  Please don’t make too much noise, I don’t want to hurt you.” 

    Michael grabbed a piece of cardboard and propped it up in front of the boy, so that whenever he awakened, he would see it.  Michael also thought about grabbing the boy some food, but remembered the boy was gagged.  Several other problems skimmed through Michael’s head.  He hoped the boy wouldn’t need to use the restroom until he woke up.  Then again, he shouldn't be breaking into people’s apartments, so a little inconvenience might just be too bad for the boy.

      Michael laid down on his bed and wrapped the welcoming comforter around himself.  When the sun arose 29 seconds later, Michael was fast asleep.


      Six hours later, Dimitri, Michael’s sire, awoke to a burning haven.  Not having the strength to fight inevitability, Dimitri continued to lay in his coffin, awaiting what had evaded him for so many years.  In his last moments he felt overwhelming guilt and sadness for his only childe, Michael, who would now be alone in this world.  He was greeted by the vision of a boy who had good intentions speaking with Michael about what he was.  Dimitri felt a little better that at least Michael would have someone.  Minutes later Dimitri was nothing more than a pile of dust.

      As the car sped away, Laurec grinned in satisfaction.  His Prince would be pleased with him.  The thought of her caress caused him to increase the car’s speed twofold as he barreled down the highway. 

    Several miles north, one of the newest children of Malkav saw the entire event unfold as if in a dream, and indeed it was.  His sadness reverted to what it had been, but a cold hatred rose, and the voice of Michael’s mother coldly vowed revenge.


    The sound of bone splintering was something Imre would never be used to. He preferred the clean sound of a metal blade slicing through flesh. The mere brutality suggested by breaking a mortal’s arm or slamming their fragile skull against the pavement filled him with disgust. The sword was his most skillfully wielded weapon. It didn’t matter whether he held a claymore or a katana, Imre somehow connected with the spirit of their movement and used them with perfect deadly efficiency.

    At the moment, though, all his fighting equipment was stored safely below the streets in a large deposit box under a false name, and his fists and feet had to suffice. The deal had gone down well enough, but apparently he had played the part of being inebriated a little too convincingly. Now the overzealous hombres had decided he didn’t really need the cash, and wouldn’t remember who had beaten it out of him later.

    They were quite wrong. Imre moved gracefully, dodging their clumsy blows and coming back at them fiercely with strong kicks which took their legs out from under them. Calling to the wind, Imre summoned a cloud of small sharp-beaked birds to distract the three back stabbing dealers. They swooped down swiftly with their tiny black and white wings and scratched at their outstretched arms. Diving to the ground himself, Imre concentrated and molded reality around his body to disguise his location with an extra two feet of wall from the building he crouched next to.

    To the panicking Mexicans, the wiry young man had simply disappeared. They didn’t think to look around the corner of the bar, but instead ran from the attacking birds to their trucks in the dusty parking lot. Imre waited patiently, counting on their stupidity and fear to lead them away.

    He guessed right, at least this time. His craft of weaving illusions had failed him before, but he blamed only himself. Through years of practice, he had learned to look at the world differently. He scrutinized everything objectively, taking in the smallest details of proportion and texture. The more he studied his surroundings, the better he was able to imitate them. It had saved him from meeting final death more than once. Even though his own family would no longer recognize him, he was still proud to be Rom, even if it was known only by himself. His caution, pride, and cleverness kept him reaching toward his goal.

    Dust sprayed into the air as the tires on twin trucks spit and burned on the unpaved ground. When the grind of the engines and the smell of rubber had faded, Imre finally walked around the extended corner and dropped the illusion when he saw no one. Smiling, he patted the bulge of money in his microfiber slacks. He wanted to thank his rescuers, but he didn’t dare re-enter the bar to find scrap food. He gave three quick warbling whistles, in what he hoped was an approximation of “Thank you.”

    Tap tap tap.

    “Go away!” Madeleine automatically yelled toward the window.

    Imre disregarded her and lifted the unlocked wooden frame up and climbed inside. The short girl sat on the couch, ignoring him with determination until something small and green flew into her lap. She gaped at the wad of money in amazement.

    “Why? Where did you... Why?” she asked, flustered.

    “I’m leaving,” Imre said, tucking the rest of the money under his belt, “but I need to use your phone first.”

    Again, Madeleine was numbed at his contrasting actions and words. She sat on the sinking cushions stupidly, crumpling the money in her hands. Vaguely, she heard Imre dial several phone numbers, although she couldn’t understand his foreign words.

    “Good bye Madeleine. Don’t look for me.”

    He stood very still in front of the window, the streetlamp outside throwing his shadow across the floor to her bare feet. His gaze was steady and serious, cold like his voice. She wondered what she had done to drive him away.

    “Please...” she trailed off, knowing it would accomplish nothing.

    “Thank you,” he whispered.

    Madeleine turned away to hide her blurring eyes. A breeze fluttered in, gently rippling her long hair as if to console her. She caught his scent on the wind, the smell of patchouli and something older and fainter. Daring to look back again, she wasn’t surprised to find him gone. The money in her hand made her feel hollow and brittle as porcelain. Turning on her small color television, she cried herself to sleep.

    His friends in Topeka were good. They were fast, too. By the time Imre checked into the low-rent motel with a silently beautiful woman, the last two digits of the phone number he needed were already waiting on the remote messaging service. 355-4589. From there it was simple to look up the phone number in a directory and obtain the name and address of the phone owner. He placed his finger on the name and picked up a featureless tan phone. Suddenly, the Middle Eastern looking young man looked over his shoulder, sensing some one else was in the room with him.

    A desperately wistful look crossed his face as he realized it was only the illusion of his beautiful beloved still standing placidly in the room with him. Abandoning the phone, he walked up to the image. It looked so real. Her long black hair fell almost to her waist as it should have before she had cut it all off, her dark brown eyes staring at him vacantly. Imre touched the dark curve of her cheek and sighed. It felt real, as well. But it was not her. It never would be her.

    Stifling a cry of anguish, Imre grabbed a pen from the standard issue night stand and jammed it deep into the varnished surface. Carving with the plastic tool, he made a small crude image similar to a broken loop of infinity. He stabbed the desk again to make a dot on one side of the loop, shattering the pen in the process.

    Ink bled into the grooves, and his fingers were stained once again. At least the blue watery liquid would wash away easier than blood. The mere thought of blood sparked the beast inside him, and he had to struggle to calm himself. He should have given in and fed from Madeleine one last time. Instead, he would have to spend the rest of the night as a stealthy hunter in a wasteland of mortals. Maybe he would find a victim quickly enough to also stop by the Swanson residence. Ripping the page out of the phone book, Imre swept his hand through the mirage, effectively dissipating it, and left the small shabby room.


    London’s mouth hurt. His jaw ached as his tongue attempted to swipe out the musty object that felt as though it was forced in past his teeth during his unfortunate nap. The dirty spit soaked cloth had only slid farther past his upper palate, making him gag reflexively. Had there been any food in his stomach, he would have choked on his own vomit, but he only dry heaved painfully for several moments. His head pounded as his stomach churned and smoldered. He tried to blink his eyes, but he was unsure if they were open or closed due to the moist darkness. His neck muscles burned as his shoulder throbbed with flame.

    The boy could smell himself. Although he could hardly remember his nightmare, he knew that he must have suffered sufficiently in the waking world. The sweet sticky feel of his own dried sweat seemed to seethe over his sensitive pale flesh. At that moment, he yearned nothing more than to cleanse his flesh in boiling water and fill his stomach with thick loving kindred blood.

    He attempted to reach over to massage his aching shoulder. The pain seemed to flow from his upper deltoid down to his bicep. Again, he tried, arm straining. It was no use, his tingling wrist was mercilessly pinned by a warm coarsely scathing rope.

    The boy worked up the momentum of his small body and rolled onto his belly. With his nose against the disgusting carpet, he tried to cough the rancid cloth from his dry throat. He only succeeded in pressing it forward enough for him to swallow his own spit. Although the concept revolted him and threatened to fire off his dry heave reflex again, he needed something to end the suffering of his parched throat.

    He could feel the warm liquid slide into his aching stomach. He rolled back onto his back, his hands tied behind him. He couldn’t stand the scent of himself or the carpet, but he needed to know if Michael was in the room. He drew in a deep breath of the black surroundings. Again, there was his revolting unclean self, the carpet and room... and someone else... someone unclean, like himself. It was Michael. London could smell the bloody salt of Michael’s tears. How London coveted those tears... precious blood wasted on a simple emotion. London’s stomach felt as though it was ripping from its inner walls. He tried to feel sorry for Michael’s anguish, but at this moment, London was sure that his own was far greater.

    Again he struggled against the unfeeling ropes. His weakness and hunger threatened to place him back into the hells of his unconsciousness, but the young boy struggled on.

    There it was! The ropes loosened an inch. With haste, he cupped his thumb to his pinky finger and wriggled his left hand free. Suddenly all of his effort paid off as his left hand fought at the rope, now defenseless. Soon, London fought himself to his feet and vigorously massaged his aching sleeping wrists and fingers.

    After his blood had settled from his head and eyes back to the rest of his body, the boy could see again. There was Michael, sleeping soundly in bed. He looked so sweet and innocent laying there beneath his comforter. So full of unknowing... so full of warm, sweet, delicious, flowing ecstasy. But not now. Not while Michael slept.

    Once before, as the Reverend slept, one of the other boys who were equal with London attempted to steal a little of the holy man’s blood. The Reverend awoke, and was not himself. He had entered into some sort of mindless defensive frenzy. London had to haul the boy’s body outside the church in a garbage bag. He looked so peaceful with a broken neck. London couldn’t even tell if the boy was really dead or not.

    No... waking Michael would certainly not be a good idea. He knew it must be daytime. Michael’s kind only slept during the day. Lumbering as quiet as his aching body would allow, London made his way into the dimly lit living room. From there, he instinctively migrated towards the bathroom. It was still hard for him to decipher whether his eyelids were open or closed, as the darkness refused to submit. His hunger was nearly too great to see beyond normal sight. It hurt.

    The burning water tickled the young boy’s anemic naked body. London leaned against the cool tiles of the shower wall, his deathly pale skin nearly the same color as the snow white squares. The loving liquid licked away the boy’s sweat and stink while banishing it down the oblivion of the meshed drain.

    After nearly an hour, he emerged from behind the frosted glass. Dabbing his lightly wrinkled skin dry, he then wiped off the mirror with Michael’s towel. There he peered at the new London. The boy ran his fingers through his blonde hair... the brown roots were starting to show. He had never dyed his hair before. He looked older. Not much, but London knew that he was starting to age.

    The sweet smelling mist of the the bathroom slid out onto the floor as the fully dressed London proceeded from the bathroom towards the kitchen. On the way, he dropped his nicely folded trench coat onto the arm of the living room couch.

    After a brave crusade through Michael’s refrigerator, London finally came across some things that didn’t seem to have expired some weeks prior to London’s unexpected visit. The Reverend Dimsdale had always enjoyed the scent of pancakes and maple syrup, even though he could not eat them.

    London smiled briefly as the clock rolled over to ten o clock... Michael would be awake soon. London placed the third pancake onto the cleanest plate he could find. Perhaps this real food would tackle his hunger long enough to stay alert while dealing with Michael.

Part Four Is Here Now!!!

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