Prologue: Caveat Emptor, Scene IV (Daphne)

Prologue: Caveat Emptor, Scene IV (Daphne)

February 24th, 2007
Late Afternoon

It had been... disturbingly easy to find the former Mrs. Pike lived. Megan Pike had reverted to her maiden name, Kowalski, and had come to live with her mother. The late Mr. Kowalski had been in the merchant marine, and now Megan Kowalski's mother lived on his pension and her own earnings as a librarian out in Hillingdon, one of the exurbs of London. When all had fallen apart, Megan had fled to her home.

It was a neat little bungalow, with a front yard and a parking lot for two cars, both occupied. One was the senior Mrs. Kowalski's car, and the other was Megan's. And there was a small toy truck in the front yard, and other racing cars. Josh Pike was here.

Daphne sat in her Volvo, for a time. She wasn't worried, exactly. It was more of a ...trepidation concerning how this would work out.

She tapped the handle to her door, and finally stepped out. She had seen the toys, she knew mother and child were there.

Daphne rang the doorbell.

After a moment, the door opened, and a frazzled-looking woman in her mid-thirties came out. She had been attractive once, but worry and stress had etched deep lines in her face, and she looked older than her years. She was dressed in a cardigan and slacks, and there were dark circles under her eyes. Megan Pike's husband was dead, and even if she had divorced him not so long ago, she had not forgotten him altogether.

"Hello?" Mrs. Pike said, looking at Daphne with narrowed eyes. "How may I help you?"

"Hello, Mrs. Pike? My name is Daphne. I have something very important I need to speak with you about."

Maybe it helped that she was still wearing her labcoat from work. It was a thought.

Dice Roll: 6d10s8e10
d10 Results: 9, 2, 7, 2, 4, 7 (Total Successes = 1)
Presence+Socialization+1 Glamour

"Alright. Please, come in." Megan Pike said, frowning yet more. She stepped aside and ushered Daphne inside. "How did you find me? Please, what's the problem?"

Daphne followed the woman into her mother's house only after being invited in. With a neutral face, she swept her hands out of her pockets and clasped them together. Ceremony.

"I think, perhaps, you should sit down first, Mrs. Pike."

More ceremony.

She waited for Mrs. Pike to sit. "I am very sorry," she lied. "I had the misfortune of seeing your ex-husband's body the other day." That was true.

Daphne kept the neutral air, but on the inside she was excited, pleased. And nothing told her it was sick, either.

She could smell Megan's fear, barely starting to rise out of her.

"Oh. That's why he didn't call." Mrs. Pike said, sinking down into a large armchair, the armrests covered with little beaded mats. She looked stunned, shell-shocked, not knowing what to say. "Thomas..."

Daphne got a good look around the house. It was elegantly decorated, with hand-made woodwork and copious antiques scattered throughout the rooms, and old paintings and photographs, at least some of which bore a family resemblance to Megan Pike's strong-featured face. There was a dog bed next to the fireplace, and a number of shopping magazines on the table, selling food, or clothing, or decorations.

"How... how did he die? What happened?" Megan's voice broke on the last word.

"Are we alone?" Daphne sat down across from Megan and folded her hands over her knees like a professional.

"I'm afraid Thomas got mixed up in some very bad business. He his enemies.

"Did you know about any of his dealings?"

Dice Roll: 8d10s8e10
d10 Results: 1, 8, 8, 10, 4, 8, 4, 8, 8 (Total Successes = 6)

"Yes, my mother's at work. Josh is upstairs." Megan said, sounding very dazed by all of this. "I... no. I didn't know he had enemies. We never did anything major enough to earn enemies."

"How?" Megan said. "Why... is this... is this to do with Josh? Thomas said there were treatments. New ones. Safe, but secret. He lied. What happened? What happened?"

Empathy+Wits+2 for glamour

Daphne tried to contain herself.

It was no wonder she came here first, eager to feel the fear and anxiety of a total mortal, a totally mortal feeling.

Was it a desire to feel human again? Or simply a sick need for an alien mind?

Daphne sometimes wondered, but she rarely cared.

"If I told you," she said slowly, "you wouldn't believe me.

"It would be easier to say he sought to protect your son Josh, but the deal he made went bad. He couldn't hold up his end of the bargain, and they destroyed him for it.

"You're lucky, Megan. You're lucky I'm the one who found you, and not the mercenaries."

Dice Roll: 8d10s8e10
d10 Results: 3, 8, 5, 1, 1, 7, 6, 1 (Total Successes = 1)
Harvest: Empathy+Wits+2glam


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