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Authors: David Niall Wilson

Tags: #Horror

Vintage Soul

BOOK: Vintage Soul
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VINTAGE SOUL
 

Book II of The DeChance Chronicles

By David Niall Wilson

First Digital Edition published by Crossroad Press & Macabre Ink Digital

Cover by Alan M. Clark – Cover design by David Dodd

Copyright 2011 by David Niall Wilson

LICENSE NOTES:
 

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.
 
This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people.
 
If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with.
 
If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return the vendor of your choice and purchase your own copy.
 
Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

OTHER CROSSROAD TITLES BY DAVID NIALL WILSON:
 

NOVELS:

Ancient Eyes

Deep Blue

Sins of the Flash

The Orffyreus Wheel

Darkness Falling

The Mote in Andrea's Eye

On the Third Day

The Second Veil

Heart of a Dragon

Stargate Atlantis – SGA-15 – Brimstone (With Patricia Lee Macomber)

NOVELLAS:

Roll Them Bones

The Preacher's Marsh

The Not Quite Right Reverend Cletus J. Diggs & The Currently Accepted Habits of Nature

'
Scuse
Me, While I Kiss the Sky

COLLECTIONS:

The Fall of the House of Escher & Other Illusions

Defining Moments

A Taste of Blood & Roses

Spinning Webs & Telling Lies

The Whirling Man& Other Tales of Pain, Blood, and Madness

Joined at the Muse

UNABRIDGED AUDIOBOOKS:

Roll Them Bones
/
Deep Blue
/
The Orffyreus Wheel
/
The Not Quite Right Reverend Cletus J. Diggs & The Currently Accepted Habits of Nature
/
Heart of a Dragon

ONE
 

The private elevator had been busy since sunset, shuttling guests from the sub-basement parking area to the top floor penthouse suite.
 
Long, sleek limousines and dark roadsters were lined up like soldiers, and their drivers had gathered in the comfortable lounge provided for them just to the left of the elevator entrance.

By nine, the outer doors had been closed and secured, and the last well-dressed couple had been ushered into the plush elevator and deposited on the upper floor.
 
As the elevator door closed for the final time, a short, wizened man stepped up to the doors, laid his palm across an intricately designed panel imbedded in the metal and dropped his head forward.
 
A greenish glow seeped out around the edges of his fingers.
 
His lips moved slowly in an almost silent incantation.

None of the guests paid him the slightest attention.
  
In the garage below, the drivers watched in silence as the wall where the elevator doors had closed only moments before grew dark, shimmered, and solidified.
 
No trace of the elevator's existence remained.
 
The outer wall of the parking garage made a similar transformation, leaving the drivers alone in the comfortable lounge.

“That's that, then,” a sallow, pale faced man said, turning to the driver next to him with a grin.
 
“It's a long time until dawn…cards?”

The other man nodded, and they broke into groups.
 
Some took seats around the single round table in the center of the lounge, others gathering near a small but high-end television in one corner.
 
There was a panel on the wall with a light corresponding to each parking space.
 
When the owner of one of the vehicles was ready to leave, the light beside their number would flash, and the driver would know to prepare the vehicle and prepare for departure.
 
None of them expected to leave for a very long time.

Many stories above, the guests gathered in the center of the penthouse's large living room.
 
The furnishings were Victorian; plush velvet and dark mahogany glittered in the dim light of candelabras spread across every available horizontal surface.
 
The air throbbed with a hypnotic beat that emanated from rows of speakers and originated from a stereo rack tucked into a dark recess half-shrouded in the fountain-like fronds of dozens of potted spider plants.
 
The stereo's controls and multi-colored LEDS peeked out past the deep green leaves and dangling vines creating a pleasant, jungle-like separation of technology and luxury.
 
The music had no lyrics.
 
It pulsed rhythmically and turned the room into a gigantic, beating heart.
 
The guests swayed gently, transfixed by the sound.

The outer wall was a slick, ebony curtain.
 
It glimmered like obsidian, casting the dancing flames of the candles back at the room.
 
Preston Johndrow, the host, stood with his back to that wall and faced his guests.
 
He held a glittering bottle in one hand, and in his other, a crystal goblet.
 
Johndrow was tall.
 
He was a slender man with a trim waist and deceptively broad shoulders that filled out his tailored suit immaculately.
 
His hair was as black as the smooth wall behind him, flecked with just the hint of gray.
 
His smile was wide and expansive.

A slender blonde woman stood to his right.
 
She was dressed in a shimmering black evening gown that clung to her like scales and.
 
Her heels were so tall it seemed impossible she could balance on them and walk, but she showed not the slightest discomfort at the tortuous pressure on her ankles.
 
Her hand rested on the wall beside another control panel.
   
The room was riddled with such devices, each cleverly hidden by plants, curtains, or various pieces of sculpture.
 
Everything blended perfectly, and though they were out of period, the control panels and glowing indicators were swallowed by the overwhelming opulence of the room's ambiance.

Johndrow tapped his goblet lightly on the bottle in his hand, and the room grew silent.
 
He turned to the blonde woman with a loving smile, and nodded.
 

“Vanessa,” he said, “will you do the honors?”

Vanessa Di Caprio did not answer.
 
Instead she pressed her palm flat on the switch.
 
The wall behind Johndrow split down the center.
 
It parted and rotated to either side, disappearing into recesses shaded by crushed velvet curtains that might once have hung in a great theater.
 
In fact, that was the effect.
 
The curtain of wall opened, and the night sky beyond was revealed.
 
Stars glittered brightly, winking at those gathered.
 
The moon hung low on the horizon, yellow and full.
 
In the brilliant contrast of pitch black night and winking stars, with the glow of the city seeping up from below, the moon appeared heavy and sluggish; it's off-white color out of place.

Johndrow's guests gasped in appreciation of the tremendous view.
 
He turned, stared out over the city for a moment, and then turned to face the group once more.
 

“Amazing as it is,” he said, “I know you all haven't come here just to admire my view.
 
Shall we begin?”

The others murmured assent, and Vanessa stepped to Johndrow's side.
 
She had the smooth, flawless skin of a seventeen year old, and if it hadn't been for the practiced grace of her movements, and the direct, almost arrogant power projected by her gaze, it would have been easy to imagine that she was Johndrow's daughter.
 
This illusion was quickly dispelled as she wrapped herself around him, insinuated her head beneath his arm and wrapped her leg around his seductively, the spiked heel of her shoe caressing the inner edge of his calf.

Johndrow's smile broadened perceptibly, but he concentrated on his balance, and on the bottle in his hand.
  
He held the stem of the goblet between two extended fingers, and gripped the neck of the bottle firmly with the same hand, being careful not to crack the two together.
 
It should have been difficult to hold the full bottle in this manner, but Johndrow showed no strain or sign of concern.
 
He reached down to a decorative table beside him and picked up a gleaming, golden corkscrew.

His performance was almost theatrical, and his guests followed his actions appreciatively.
 
He twirled the sharp metal corkscrew in and popped the cork.
 
The sound of its release was wet and rich.
 
He handed the corkscrew to Vanessa, who unwound herself, lifted the instrument to eye level and licked the cork, very carefully, teasing every dark drop of liquid from its surface and then holding it in front of her like a lollipop as Johndrow, trying not to show the effect her actions had on him, poured a splash of glittering ruby wine into the goblet.
 

“Meredith?” he said, holding the glass out with a slight bow.

A red haired woman stepped from the crowd.
 
She gripped her escort's arm for just a second, released him, and approached Johndrow.

“Such an honor,” she said.
 
Her voice was breathy and deep.
 
She wore an emerald green silk dress that reached nearly to the floor, but was slit up the sides nearly to the tops of her thighs, revealing flashes of dark, tanned skin as she walked.
 
To his credit, Johndrow watched only her eyes as she approached.

“We took the liberty of holding a drawing before any of you arrived,” Johndrow explained.
 
Vanessa thought it would be more fun to announce both contest – and winner – in the same instant.

Meredith reached for the goblet, but Johndrow pulled it back out of reach.
 
“Do you know what this is?” he asked.

“Wine?”

The room erupted in a short burst of laughter, and then quieted again.

Johndrow's eyes sparkled.
  
“Wine, indeed,” he replied.
 
“Very astute of you, but – of course – this isn't just any wine.
 
If it were, well, I would not be standing here, and most of you,” he swept his arm in an arc that encompassed all present, “would likely not be either.”

BOOK: Vintage Soul
5.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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