20 October 2054, 21.00
344 Clinton Street, apartment 33-B, Gigopolis 1
A gloved hand extended out a door card and swiped it through the slot. Slowly, the figure almost glided into the foyer of the large apartment building. There was a humanoid robot mounted in the middle of a circular desk that turned toward her as she came in. It smiled at her, and opened its lips in mimicry of speech.
Before it spoke she made a gesture with her hand, and the head twisted sharply at a rude, curt angle. She watched curiously as the machine attempted to understand what was going on. It shook left and right, gesticulated its hands in an obscene manner. As it moved, it rattled against the desk, she closed her open hand, and the machine fell still, slumped over.
She was aware of the cameras played upon, her for security reasons, but was irritated by their presence. She put her pointer and thumb together as if holding an imaginary ball, and then tossed it at one of them. The camera crumpled into the wall as if struck by a hammer. Then, each camera trained upon the area, and, eventually, every camera in a given radius collapsed in an odd manner upon itself.
She smiled, pleased with herself, and observed the other cameras crumple into bits. She imagined the wires surrounding them melt, and shatter and she imagined the central computer they connected to malfunction and literally shake itself to bits. She supposed she should not do such things, but it was fun.
She went into the stairwell where more smoldering cameras were exposed from their recesses in the ceiling. Slowly, she took her time and ascended to the third floor, and walked up to number thirty-three. Softly she rapped upon the door.
The doorknob turned, it was one of the older-fashioned ones with a key and not a magnetic card strip. The scent of incense wafted through as a pair of eyes peeked up from a crack in the door. The eyes smiled brightly as a little child threw the door open and squealed, ‘grandma!’
Crone drew back the cloak off her head and picked up the little one. “Well I guess old grand ma can’t fool you, now can she?” The little girl giggled shyly and shook her head left and right proudly. “Oh my you’re getting heavy!” Crone explained in an utterly matronly manner. I shall have to put you on a diet! Nothing but bread and soymilk for you!”
The little girl made a face and exclaimed, ‘uh-uh!’ as a slender figure came behind them. She was topless and her breasts were sallow with milk. Her face was warm, and she reached out to tickle the little girl’s feet after watching them converse.
The girl shrieked in delight and the three of them ended up on the couch and took turns tickling each other until the girl was exasperated and fell asleep against her mother’s bosom, gently nursing. Crone looked at her and then her mother.
“You two are beautiful. As it should be. Mother and child.” Crone said. She patted her lap as the young woman lay down upon her and looked up at Crone.
“How’s it going, ma?”
“Pretty good, really. I saw your dad the other night. We got to work together some.” The woman smiled as she brushed the red hair of the little girl.
“Yeah? He came by last week with candy for Celeste for Samhein.” Crone rolled her eyes. The woman shrugged and continued, “He does what he can, ma. Don’t doubt his love for me, or his grandchild.”
“Oh never, never ever.” Crone intoned darkly. “I was just hoping, well that he’d have a bit more respect for our values.”
“He does. He is also a grandpa. Grandpas get the right to spoil their grandchildren. They get the right to spoil their children, too.” She smiled pleasantly.
“Oh that he’s done a wonderful job of.” Crone said.
“We were not spoiled. We were, comfortable.” She retorted.
Crone stroked the woman’s nose. “No, spoiled. Medical school, on a police officer’s salary? I call that spoiled beyond spoiled.”
“Like you didn’t help?” She looked up at her mother.
“Well a little.” Crone admitted.
“Please. You were irritated at me that I chose the profession, but secretly you’ve been very proud of my work.” The woman said saucily at her.
“Jennifer,” Crone started to speak sharply.
“Talk, talk talk. I have been able to do things no witch has ever dreamed of. I’ve been able to help more people, save more lives and create a greater quality of life for my patients and their families.” Jennifer said.
“You do good works. I grant you that.” Crone admitted.
“You just wanted me to be a hero, like you, or like dad.” She said.
“I…” Crone turned away and bit her lower lip.
Jennifer softly stroked her child at her breast and then moved the little girl’s face to her other nipple.
“I’m still a witch ma. Always have been. Always will be.” With a gesture of her hand, every candle in the room, the sole source of illumination went out.
Crone sat in the darkness and spoke softly. “I needed to see that. I have to know the old ways won’t be lost.” She said.
“They won’t be. Not with me, not with Celeste, not with my brother, either.” Jennifer replied.
“Have you seen him recently?” She asked.
Jennifer nodded. “He was down in Nuke York the last time I saw him. He was wondering the streets helping anyone he could find.”
Crone allowed herself to smile in the darkness. She never understood her youngest son. Sometimes the gift of the magic was also the curse of the magic. Her son was a hero, like his father before him. He was once a police officer, until drummed out due to his mutation. It damned near killed him emotionally not to follow his father’s example. He hated Gteams with a passion, and then struck out on his own.
A vigilante under the modern law of heroes. He could be arrested for using his mutation in public.
“So what does he do?” Crone asked, her eyes twinkling.
“Just help out. He’s got this spell going,” Jennifer spoke excitedly, nearly waking the child. “Every time he uses his other magic’s, the spell changes his outward illusion. It is really a piece of work. That way he can help a lot of people, and no one has any clue.”
Crone nodded approvingly. “That would be my son. Doing the dirty works. Getting the job done, no matter what the cost. If you see him soon, tell him I love him.” Crone said, with a warm smile on her face.
“I always do, ma. He always says he loves you, too.” Crone nodded gently. She cleared her throat.
“How does he look?” Crone said.
“As usual. Fighting the weight battle. He’s seeing someone, but I don’t know who.” Jennifer said.
Crone grinned, “I grant you I don’t need more grandchildren, but still, it would be nice.”
Jennifer looked at her mother crossly.
“Oh.” Crone said.
“You know for someone as tolerant as you are with other people, you do have a problem with your own children.” Jennifer said.
“I always thought it was because he hated me.” Crone admitted.
“No, never. He loves you deeply, but he doesn’t like talking about his life, especially after that one little family tussle some years back.” Jennifer said.
“That was a hundred years ago.” Crone noted.
“Ma, deal with it. Danny is different. Queer as a three dollar bill, a homo, a queen, or somewhere in between.” Jennifer said sourly. “You’ve slept with other women. What’s the issue?”
Crone squirmed a bit uncomfortably, and then spoke, “he doesn’t talk to me.”
“Like it’s any of our damned business who he’s fucking? As long as it’s a consenting adult.” Jennifer roared, almost angrily. All of the candles in the room snapped on drawing the light level to that of sub daylight. Jennifer’s child squirmed on her breast.
“Now who’s getting upset?” Crone said, and made a vertical gesture, bringing the illumination level back down.
“I love my brother. I don’t understand my brother, but I do love him.” Jennifer said calmly.
Crone drew a deep breath. It was not about love, it was about communication. Parents liked to know things. They wanted to know that their children were happy. Crone bit at her lips, deep in thought. Jennifer shifted a bit, and then set the child on Crone.
“I’ve something for you to try.”
Crone looked at her suspiciously.
“Oh come on. You’ve always been my guinea pig.” Jennifer said. Without waiting for an answer, she went into a bedroom and came out, containing a plastic bag marked, ‘medical use only’ and in it was a red substance that looked much like blood.
“Another synthetic compound.” Crone said.
“Sort of. It works like the old sugar substitutes that put a bit of real sugar in order for the chemical binder to adhere to. I think it takes the edge off. Then again, I don’t have your bloodline.” She handed the baggie to Crone.
Crone twisted the top slowly and took a sample sip, swishing in her mouth. “Well yes, the taste is there. Just so small, and there’s that bizarre chemical overtone.” She swallowed, and took a second sip. “I’m not getting any of the bloodlust from it. Is that a good, or a bad thing?” Crone looked at her.
“Well I’d say it was good. I can transmit this to Dr. Reis. He can synthesize this anytime you like.” Jennifer said.
“That would mean explaining to Dr. Reis. I don’t like that.” Crone replied.
“And you wonder where Danny gets his tight lips.” Jennifer retorted, exasperated, “Mother, I’m only trying to help.”
Crone’s senses lit up. She could see permutations of realities, and in one of them, they fought. Crone truthfully hated fighting with her children. Crone sipped at it a bit more, and spoke softly, “I know. I have dealt with this all my life, being a day walker. I’m a lot more in control than you think.”
“I’ve never doubted your control. I also know you don’t like this part of who you are.” Jennifer said.
“I think you like it less than I do. You don’t like having one quarter of a vampire’s blood in your veins. I know how you vacillated in having a child. I just feel fortunate that the child’s father was a sorcerer of reasonable lineage, even if he was two-hundred years your senior.”
Jennifer blushed but did not suppress a smile.
Crone finished the blood synthesis and then it hit her, like a rush of heroin in an addict’s vein. Her fangs extruded, and her eyes flickered red. In the rush of an instant before her illusory spells could kick in, Jennifer saw it. She swore.
“Oh,” Crone said. “It’s not that bad. This is a weak bloodlust. I know you have the real thing though.” She wrinkled her nose. “Please.” She said plainly.
Jennifer knew better and brought Crone two pints of whole blood, not the synthesis, which she quickly consumed, and then layback onto the couch. Jennifer brought her a blanket, a pillow, and a cold washrag.
“What’s all this? I’m not an invalid.”
“No, but you can take it easy.” Jennifer said.
“Now who’s mothering whom?” Crone said with a smile. Her eyes glittered a dark rich red, and she was high like a sixties hippie. She cracked, “now all I need are some munchies and an eight track player.”
Jennifer cocked her head and replied, “I’m fresh out of VW Bus’s.”
They talked for a time, and, at a certain point, Jennifer broke down and consumed a half a pint of whole blood as well. She had to admit it; it was a high, like alcohol to a human. She felt strong, powerful, and as the sun rose and she closed the curtains, mother, daughter, and granddaughter talked of things past, present, and future.