These Spectators are Underpaid - Part Two

August 21, 2017:

Accepting rides from strangers is dangerous and weird! A vampire and a sociopathic mutant become friends. The first seal has been broken.

Nocturna

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: Witches by Switchblade Symphony


Fade In…

As the night deepens and moves into an ever-deeper layer of slumbrous ominosity, where the pleasure of the end of day gives way to the solemn depths of blackness within which may dwell our darkest nightmare, Dala Vadim takes her new 'friend' to her castle.

And a castle it is! It may actually be recognizable to Regan from the background of random instagrams from the Gotham area. Charity functions, a few places needing a ballroom, some daytime 'princess' events, middling rock concerts…

And other places.

"Welcome to the Lagoon," Dala says as she shoves open a pair of double doors, wood panelled but with modern steel in the middle. They latch open, and Dala must have given them a hell of a shove. Behind them are stone passages leading down, with only the occasional up-to-code ornament to interfere with a spartan but effective style (the occasional tapestry or weathered statue; LED glows in torch settings…)

The Lagoon itself is far posher. If it weren't for the smell of chlorine from the water, it would look much like a decadent backyard. Dala raises a hand then, making what seems to be a mystic pass… though Regan could spot her phone in her hand, open to some piece of IoT jiggery-pokery.

A poisonous green glow dawns in the pool. Round, a little irregular. The glow limns the furniture, though there are only a couple of tables with lounge chairs nearby, much of the rest hiding in wooden stacks behind the jungle of synthetic foliage.

"Hot tubs would take a few minutes to warm up, darling," Dala says. "Let me go turn on the rest of the lights."

*

With three bags of clothing left behind with the car, Regan Wyngarde has been more than happy to travel the nighttime walls of a castle. The way she looks upon the structure itself isn't with agape jaw and wide eyes, but with a certain old-found respect for the aged thing. The seats of kings and queens, perhaps not this castle, but the quieted draw its halls have to her has kept her eyes interested, peering around corners as they pass, all of the way out to the Lagoon.

CLICK.

"And what a warm welcome it is." The camera in Regan's hand captures an image before her and thumb goes a-tapping to send a message. It's a skill Regan has without really looking to her screen. She knows her Verizon-Fu. "Literally."

The phone lowers and Regan wraps both of her hands around it, holding it before her thighs as she strolls along, turning in her walk to twist about, inspecting the place with clinical curiosity. Boots clap against the walkway, bringing her in line with Dala to twist and veer towards the pool, itself.

"I have a friend who would absolutely love this place; not that I'm saying I don't, Dala. I do." Regan speaks up, shifting her straight, blonde hair out of a rend in her savaged shirt. "But I love it. It breathes and one of those Las Vegas hotel pools with hospital white and towels would have ruined it."

Regan skims her chin past the ropelike strand of black and purple that clings to her shoulder.

"Is the wet-bar just as expensive?"

*

Dala manages to look like a black and white blur on the edge of that photo. Bad timing. But it's just her leg, or something.

The walkway doesn't clack that much. There IS a bridge over the center of the pool, though there's no railing. People must fall in a lot. Maybe that's the idea.

Dala laughs smokily as she walks round and lights come on. They're subtle. The ceiling has a suggestion of stars; the light itself comes from strategic points within the trees. It becomes an urban evening, gradually. Dala replies to Regan's question, "The bar! Always an essential question. That I will open next. Two free drinks, as a beloved guest and media influencer. Beyond that, I open a tab for you."

Dala reappears - not where her voice would have suggested she was, but moving towards a cabana. It's shuttered. Probably the bar, lightly drunkproofed. "You want to take a dip? It's heated, of course, it is only the tubs that are not yet on."

*

"Pfft." Regan waves her fingers in the air dismissively towards her hostess. Four thin, wire bracelets rattle against her thin wrist like a thumbtack in a soda can. "I'm good for a bar tab, even if you're serving me top shelf; you may as well open a tab now since I have zero intention of driving myself home."

Regan turns against the warbling lighting from the pool and stretches her arms over her head to dangle fingertips over elbows. She leans back in a stretch that straightens her spine down to the forward kick of her leg that sends boot toppling from her toes. The second one isn't far behind. No sense in introducing Italian leather to chlorine, is there?

Regan makes it two steps onto the bridge when she spins about quickly, eyes shooting to the cabana. Wasn't Dala just…over there?

"That's why you led me to the Lagoon, isn't it?" Regan keeps her eyes on Dala as she reaches behind her head, fingers slipping into the split, black fabric to hook and pull it towards her neck. "And that's not really an answer, so the answer is yes. Surprise me with a drink and I'll be over here quietly congratulating myself for going 'kini top as a bra for the day." A toe dips towards the greenish water. "Three cheers for grunge fashion day."

*

Dala opens the bar up and steps inside. She is grinning a little, but to herself.

It is easy to get boots and top off and out of the probable splash zone. Indeed, half the place has a high lip, no doubt to deal with just that thing. The other side is smoother, easier perhaps to walk into. Looking down, there are faint points near small tiles that say how deep it is - just below the center is ten feet deep. The tiles seem to glow green.

When Regan's toe touches the water…

There's a confusion of light, a blue ripple that radiates out and returns to green. "So I have to make you a drink blind… hmmm… Let me see…" Dala observes.

The water itself is fine. Surprisingly still, if anything, but… hey: after-hours pool. And it's underground, too. Of course it would end up glass smooth.

*

The back of the shirt, which clearly survived a run-in with Victor Zsasz, bunches up past the horizontally-tied string that turns its back to Dala and her wet bar. Regan is just about to peel the wrapped fabric, words now a mish-mosh of white letters, over the front of her face, when the water at her feet does something unexpected. Regan stops to her own hammertime, eyes down, staring.

"Dala?" Regan calls out, taking the brief moment of half-shirted state to check the front of her bikini top and ensure everything's situated. A primp. A shove. A wobble. "I have a fewwwwww questions coming to mind right now that I'd like to throw by you."

Still, brave as she is, Regan peels the top off of her head and shakes her hair out of the wide neck, capturing it all in her hand with the cell phone. In black ink, the letters SKWAD have been tattooed against her ribcage, beneath her breast. Another, bleeding roses upon shoulder, remain with back facing the Hostess.

"One, if you have a good tequila and a cola, mix it all together and throw a lime in it. It's not so cheap if the tequila isn't." Regan comments and then turns on her heels, doing an about-face. "And two, is the color changing water of your lair's pool going to suck the youth out of my skin and give it to you? Bitch don't Bathory on Tuesdays, ya dig?"

*

Then a rich throaty laugh. "Ohoho! My darling Regan, you've caught me out! But soon you will be thrust into my bath of sin, from which none shall escape!" The water turns RED -

And then goes back to its original, slightly-poisonous green.

"It is just lights, darling. They are under the tiles there, so the effect is a glow! I promise it shall not startle you again."

Soon enough Dala emerges, grinning - probably in victory, but she's also carrying two glasses. One is a tequila and cola with several fat ice cubes in it. The other is a not-very-big bloody mary, which is probably being chosen with malice aforethought. She has also taken off her shorts, boots, and blouse, leaving on a black bra and having draped the schoolgirl tie over her shoulders like a stole.

"Top shelf, as you asked," Dala says as she hands Regan her drink. Then she moves to sit on the side of the bridge, looking at Regan. She is clearly looking at the tattoos, although she lingers, for some reason, as she looks at Regan's ribcage.

She sips her drink, and seems about to say something, but visibly shifts tack. "Were you truly afraid?" she asks. "I had not even shown you the monster carvings."

*

"Oh! Having fun with your new remote control, are we?" Regan sarcasms towards the approaching form of Dala. Her tongue clucks out over her teeth. "Haw. Haw. Take all the fun out of the magical pool, why don't you?"

Scared? The extra hitch in the blood that rushes through Regan's swanlike neck is far more telling that the simmeringly arrogant way Regan sweeps eyes downward to inventory Dala's chosen swimwear in approach. The blood doesn't lie, but the casual cool that Regan quickly lashes into place, waving off the joke, paints the blonde a talented liar.

The smile widens to bare white teeth to Dala Vadim. Slender fingers steal the offered glass of rum, and with the curtsied dip of one knee, Regan busies herself with the first sip.

"Afraid?" Regan clucks. "Don't they have stranger danger in your home country?" Regan bends at the waist and sets her shirt down, cell phone upon it. Regan rises, popping the button on her cutoff shorts. "Dala, while strange women with money and castles are intriguing as they can be, don't ever leave out the possibility that you might invite the wrong person to visit." Regan continues to not answer the question. "All of this milky, white skin and that scent you keep thinking about goes away with all of the hair grows, the claws come out, and I start howling at the moon."

Regan smiles sweetly, holding her wrist against the popped button and the sagging zipper.

"You should be afraid. Not me."

*

Dala takes a sip of her drink.

Looking at Regan she says, "Ahhhh. Playing, I see," even as she dips her own feet into the pool. "But there is no moonlight down here, darling. We're in the bowels of the Earth." Dala's eyes turn up for a moment. "I can turn on the moon if you want, of course."

Her tone gets less light. More, if you can forgive the term, grave. "I can tell that you are not a typical person, Regan, of course; you have more self assurance in your slim little hand than nine women in ten, to say nothing of most men. You have been playing, of course, but /you/ have been playing. It is not compulsive."

She sips her bloody mary, not very energetically. Her eyes don't turn away from Regan as they do. "But I like to live with some risk. Eh? You know? Take a chance, drive too fast, call someone a piglet in front of his family, invite tattooed strangers into your home…"

Dala crosses her ankles and looks down at the water.

"If you are going to eat my head, just give me a chance to scream," she concludes. "Otherwise I think I will swim a little."

*

"I always play." Regaan replies thoughtfully towards her painted toenails. Gingerly, she hooks a pinky finger against her glass to pry a clutch of her hair from her jaw and pry it back behind her ear. "Not that I mean that with some kind of Penthouse Letters swoon to it, but really, the masses always seem to get what they expect out of people. I just return the favor at their expense."

Balancing her glass in one hand, Regan begins to rock from side to side. Using the inborn party-grade gyroscope that keeps the drink aloft and free from spillage, Regan shrugs at her cutoffs one hip at a time. The denim is scant a fringe-lined rectangle, but still a tight fringe-lined rectangle that needs coaxing to shift down, not from qualifying swim-bottoms, but Tuesday's black thong.

"Risk, though," Regan grins to Dala as she leans over, stepping out of the denim. "That's something we both agree in. I took a ride from a stranger today. OoOoOo," Regan rolls her blue eyes and lowers to the edge of the bridge long enough for a bump of her ass to it, then arm-braces to lower into the water. "I got in her pool. OoOoOo. Which one of us will turn out to be the Hitchhiker you were warned about? Don't change that channel…"

*

"I swear that not everything that I say is meant as a double entendre," Dala says with a wry smile. "It is just how I learned English." She takes another sip of her drink and sets it down then, as Regan sways. "You certainly did," she says.

Regan sways herself and then lowers into the water in a quite reasonable way. Dala for her part is much less dramatic, and simply pushes herself forwards, sinking like a stone into the water without a great deal of plunging surface drama and temporarily removing Regan from any company whatsoever!

Here, in the basement of a strange man's pseudo-castle, at 2:26 AM, where there are very few people who could possibly ever hear her scream. If anyone. How far away is it for there to be another living soul here on Nocturna's grounds, with no events, no guests at the little B&B? IS there anyone other than Dala? Why would she pay people to be around for no reason?

A hand reaches up to grasp at Regan's ankle. It's Dala, of course. She's pulling herself back upwards, to breach the surface and get an arm on the bridge. Her hair completely hides her eyes, hanging loose like this, and products of various kinds are dripping from her face and hair in thin dark rivulets as she says: "I'm surprised you talk about hitchhikers. It's strange how few there are now, eh? Like mental hospitals. They're just things in scary movies, now."

Sweeping her hair back, Dala asks forthrightly, "So, tell me of your werewolf adventures. Are you the alpha one, or is that only for the boy wolves?"

*

Arms to the sky, Regan Wyngarde! She'd be a waif if she hadn't tacked on pints of milk in high school. So when she stretches up, keeping the chlorinated poolwater out of her precious 'Cuba Libre', her rubs hollow out into a violin shape and jut beneath her bikini top.

"Mavis Teaches Innuendo…" Regan muses to herself, lowering her arms to dip jagged elbows into the water while she searches for her submerged hostess.

Unlike Dala Vadim, Regan Wyngarde doesn't go under. The tips of her flat-ironed hair sweep the water, but she's still squarely in 'Do you know how long it took me to get ready tonight?' territory with her hair. Sigh. Vanity.

"I'm not surprised, not one bit," Regan replies when Dala returns. She tilts the brownish-black liquor to her lips, sipping and busying herself with aiding the other woman with slopping hair away from her face so that she can be seen. "Cash, Grass, or Ass added in the murder option in the seventies, or so I'm told, and once the mental hospitals stopped admitting the little people who can't afford them, it's free murder out in the streets. Nine o'Clock news. It's why I pack."

Regan's lip curls at the last of it. She settles back to stand across from Dala, cradling her drink against her cheek to narrow eyes and peer to the woman, having just told a little lie. She needs no such security.

"I'm the alpha." Regan states, clearly. "First, second, third degree name it. Blackmailing of government officials, grand larceny, breaking and entering, poking old men with sharp sticks; lady, you're swimming with a shark."

Regan grins against her glass. Bragging.

"What kind of underhanded shit did your family do to get their castle, Khaleesi Mortis?"

*

Dala listens as Regan speaks, sweeping her hair the rest of the way from her face and reaching for her drink, which she nurses again. Not a big drinker, but then, she almost certainly has worked in clubs of some kind.

"I thought you were a wolf, not a shark," Dala points out, but this time she smirks.

"As for THAT - let's see, hm. Hm hm, where to start. There was the smuggling, of course, but that was mostly back when it was tea and paper rather than coke and Mexicans," Dala says. "Though there was ALSO the slave trading, the underpaid railroad workers…"

"Anyway, that's where the fortune came from," Dala says. "Most of it went into this heap of rock because that was better than leaving it for, let me see if I can quote from my grand-uncle there, 'for a Negress's children to squander on vice, depravity, marihuana and miscegnation.'"

Dala smiles then, bobbing her head. "Charming fellow! So, you work in politics, then?"

*

"I'm teeth. Let's leave me as 'teeth'." Regan flashes her canines, mortal as can be, laughing against the rim of her drink.

Regan settles in for storytime with a certain debutante tilt of her glass-laden wrist. Hip cocked under the water, she wets her lips and drags her hair to one shoulder, half-covering the purple and black string. A little 'aahhh' escapes her mouth, eyes flashing sharply at the sheer age of industry being mentioned. If not jealousy. Veruca Salt wants a hand in slave trade and she wants it now.

Her laugh, kicked out of her lungs and her bony ribcage, rattles off of the underground walls at Dala's grand-uncle of darkness.

"FUCK no, I don't work in politics." Regan's voice scratches a death rattle at the end of her laugh. The backward tilt of her head nearly spills her drink. "I don't care half as much about all of the people who would be banging on my door while I'm doing something important, like watching Project Runway, getting laid, or meditating to how much I could care less about their little problems." Regan giggles and fans her hand Dala's way. "But I found out shortly after high school that any given Congressman will pay top dollar when you blackmail them, and that, 'daaaaaahlink', is money."

Regan rattles her glass of half-submerged ice like a chime beneath Dala's chin.

"Self employed. Till the end of time."

*

Unfortunately, the slave trade is not presently operative… in Gotham! Mostly!

Dala leans back just a bit at the sight of those teeth, and when the glass is jingled underneath her chin, her eyebrows lift again. She's swept her hair back enough for them to be visible - faintly so anyway. They may have been more pencil than they seemed; the effect is a little uncanny.

"We've had congressmen here, once or twice," Dala says, pulling herself up with a 'uff!' of effort onto the bridge. "Perhaps we should stay in touch, if you'd like the opportunity. Only one of the rooms in that so precious little tower I was telling you of has windows, but all of them - well."

Dala taps her lips, taps her ear, taps under one eye, and winks.

Perhaps this means this room has them too.

"You know, you're very easy to talk to," she says with a tilt down of her head. "I suppose I am going to have to watch myself. Especially if you come to the parties. You'll make a killing if you do, I'm sure."

She finishes the drink, and as she brings her feet out of the water, says, "Though, not on the grounds, if you please."

*

"At this point, Dala," Regan presses her toes into the flooring to give her body a near-weightless bounce. Bobbing like a buoy, she lashes her tongue to the mostly blunted tip of her teeth, grinning salaciously at the woman, watching as she emerges. "I would be offended if you didn't invite me to these parties. You're my kind of sharkwolf. We'll feast on the fattened, slowed prey of Gotham together."

Regan arches her back, finally committing to getting her hair wet. Back bending and belly hollowing upwards, she drifts with a delicately extended leg, toe-tapping across the water.

"I'll follow the breadcrumbs to that room you promised me, and nap until my clothes dry." A slow grin replaces the old one. "I might leave a way for you to get a hold of me somewhere after I leave in the morning."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License