Latest part of the vampire tale set in King Leonard's England.
[Story up to today go here.]
Cass and Suggie were enjoying drinks in the Moon on the Water. Often on a Friday night an influx of lads from HMS Cerberus, a training vessel moored in the estuary, would be carried on the incoming tide of weekend shenanigans. English cadets and a leavening of saffron-skinned Iranian sailor boys too, were often seen in that vicinity in those days.
'You know the funny turn you had the other night?' said Suggie.
'What, when Mr Vauclare wanted to mix it? Yeah, it was weird. I felt myself go, like,' said Cass. 'I thought I'd develop a head cold out of that, you know.'
'No, I think it was the use of powers, man. And not angelic ones, by any means.'
'What, you saying it was something coming off Vauclare, like? Hypnotic or something?'
'You could call it that, I suppose,' said Suggie, tamping a wad of War Horse shag into the bowl of his pipe. 'Yeah, a form of unangelic hypnosis used by Eric Vauclare on you the same way it has been employed on one or two other people.'
'What, you mean he makes a habit of it? No, come on, man, I think I just had a dodgy piece of chicken burger that lunch time now you mention it. That swine Vauclare was just a stranger in town looking for a punch-up.'
Suggie lit his pipe and a blue cloud poured from the side of his mouth.
'He's in this town for a specific reason. He's one of the jokers behind the Supreme Godhead Outreach Church.'
'The Happy-Clappies?' said Cass.
'No laughing matter is the way I'd put it. A colleague of mine doesn't refer to them as Supreme Godhead Outreach, to him they're the Red Scab Chain.'
'One of your friends in the Snake Pit or what they call the Nut House?' said Cass.
Suggie smiled to himself and ran his hand over the blue patterns on his scalp.
'You think I work the Health Service and that's it? Psychiatric, like?'
Cass did not attempt to find an answer for this, but contented himself with getting up to refill the glasses.
While he was at the bar, in came their fellow-tenant, Royston Beckett. His girlfriend was with him, the luscious blonde, Adeane Wentworth.
'Hey Roy, what you two having?' said Cass. He gave a welcoming smile to Adeane as Beckett spoke to the barman.
Then Suggie waved Adeane and Royston over to sit with him.
That guy's a fantastic actor, thought Cass, knowing what Suggie really thought of Beckett. On the other hand, who wouldn't be glad to see Adeane?
'You're cutting it tonight, Royston,' said Suggie, indicating Beckett's charcoal three-piece suit.
'You both look set for something special,' added Cass. Adeane smiled demurely.
'Well, it should be memorable, anyway. We're getting in on a bit of the spiritual vibe at the Church Hall of the Outreach people. Instruction and insight.'
Cass coughed on his glass of red wine, some of which he spat onto the floor, laughing. Beckett turned on him.
'Sorry Roy, it's just that Suggie and I were just--'
Suggie's foot lashed out at Cass's shin under the table.
'We were just debating whether to go ourselves,' said Suggie.
'Don't you need to go home and change first?' said Adeane.
'Well no, we don't. Come as you are is acceptable tonight, according to the flier. Says here, "Formal or cords, trainers, whatever."'
Suggie showed her one of the yellow handbills that some disciple had distributed to all the tables in the Moon on the Water.
The place had suddenly filled up.
'Thanks for the drink, Cass,' said Beckett. 'We've gotta run. Might see you there?'
'Yeah, might,' said Suggie.
Beckett and Adeane were some time threading through the concourse at the bar trying to get out.
'She won't be with him long, I bet you,' said Suggie.
'He's good with the chicks, isn't he,' said Cass thoughtfully.
[ ... to be continued next week]