Patricia awoke suddenly, sprawled on the floor of her basement workroom. She could sense that the sun had recently set, but she couldn't quite remember why she was languishing naked on a cement floor, rather than her usual resting place. No stranger to lost memories, Patricia lay still and waited for the past to return - if it was going to. Her left arm hurt terribly, and showed signs of a savage injury. Trish couldn't remember obtaining that, either.
Patricia could smell stale blood in the air, several kinds. A greasy taste and faint warmth in the usually chilly room told her that she must have been burning something - someone - in the furnace. Reluctantly, she sat up and looked around. As she pulled herself up from the stained floor, the previous night returned to her.
Michael..., she remembered. "Bastard!"
He..I...killed that child. That was what she had burned in the furnace, a young boy that had been found next to her in an alleyway in San Francisco. The last thing Patricia clearly remembered before that was storming out of some generic nightclub on Folsom Street, terrified, confused and overwhelmingly angry.
The next thing she knew, she was sitting in a car being driven by Gammon, as he yelled abuse and accusations at her. Accusations had flown both ways, she recalled. She didn't believe the Settite's flimsy arguement that he had 'just happened' to find her, bruised, bloodsoaked and unconcious in a dark side-street. Not when she was sure she had seen him following her even as she wrangled with her Sire. Nor did Gammon believe that she could not remember what had happened, that she could not have killed a child.
"Gammon thinks I did it..." she muttered. " And I think he did."
Sniffing at the air, Patrica knew her own blood well enough to recognize its scent - and it was thick around her. Turning about, she realized it's source, and how her arm had been torn open the night before. Upon the basement's west wall, a large triangle had been painted, in blood. Patricia recognized several coagulating, clotted lumps on the floor as flesh torn from her arm, obviously used as a brush. The interior of the triangle was blank, save for a small question mark, clumsily daubbed.
Patricia sank back to the floor, and stared at the half-healed wound on her arm. I could have done this, she realized. Or someone else. Try as she might, she could not remember anything past shoving a small body into the hungry furnace and her bloody clothes after it.
At least I can be fairly confident that I'm not impersonating Gammon, she decided. I may be able to haunt myself, but I don't think that my phantoms can drive. Of course, that was assuming that her memories of the evening were accurate...
Patricia stifled a shout of frustration. "The more I look, the more confused I become!"
Two scraps of paper on the floor, beneath the bloody triangle, caught her eye. Gingerly, she picked them up, wondering if she left some record of the night for herself.
Not quite. Patricia held two photographs. She remembered Gammon talking of the first - a picture of her, her Sire and Gammon - walking through Golden Gate Park, smiling and acting as old friends. She stared at it for a long time. So he can be photographed, she thought of her insubstantial Sire. But does that prove that he exists outside of my mind? And how did it get here?
The second photo disturbed her equally. It was from her meager album, a picture of her and her parents, taken on Patricia's tenth birthday. Patricia's then-long hair was pulled back into a ponytail and she was wearing her finest outfit. But nobody in the picture was smiling. Her mother looked tense, as she always had, and her father simply looked tired. Perhaps this was taken after a party? When they were worn out? It bothered Patricia that she couldn't remember. She could remember that she wasn't smiling because she rarely had anything to smile about while trying to cope with eighth grade three years too early. Even then, she had little love for her fellow man.
Unbidden, her Sire's voice returned to her. "I suggest you try it some time, Patricia. Kill a young girl's mother and replace her. Groom your daughter for whatever destiny you see fit. It really is very...satisfying."
Patricia began to shake. "When was it patricide?" she muttered. "How many fathers have I had? How many do I have to kill?"
When no answers were forthcoming, when she realized that Michael wasn't with her - in whatever form he might take - Patricia's confusion receded, to be replaced by anger.
Follow me, will he? Set me up as a murderer of children? That infuriated her, as kililng children is something she believed she would never do. Of course, if Michael really was a product of her own mind, then she had only herself to blame for that dead boy - although she had not yet disqualified Gammon's possible part in that event.
Patricia allowed her rage to grow and with it, so did her hunger.
"I'm going out." she muttered, hardly noticing how she was scratching and worsening the wound on her arm. "I make my reality. I can't trust anyone - and he's going pay!"
Newly determined, and with a very clear idea of what she wanted to do, Patricia strode upstairs into her haven proper. "I'll have to start at that bar I was in last night. I saw someone who will do, one of the waiters. Maybe he'll be there tonight..."