Some of the people who worked for the Anti-Enchantment Bureau had families. They lived in the complex with their wife, or husband and children. The quarters were snug and comfortable. Delightful mobiles hung above the cribs. The kitchens were kitchy and cozy, like colorful 1950's kitchens come to life, with clean, cotton ruffled curtains, updated versions of classic appliances and chrome trimmed dinette sets. The living rooms and bathrooms were equally nice too. And the views through all the windows were extremely high definition digital illusions, but you'd never be able to tell. Days were sunny and warm, or partly cloudy and chill, if you dialed up fall. The leaves were exceptionally vivid. How colorful the twinkling lights 'round Christmas time and in a scientific facility like this, there were a few menorahs too. All the lawns slumbered beneath light blankets of snow. Brand new late 50's cars rolled by. Single people lived just as well. Ozzie and Harriet would have been proud. Doctor Franklin designed it all. He liked things that way.
Oh, the people weren't prisoners. They could ride up on an elevator and exit via a small office complex. The Navy Yard leased space to all kinds of respectable businesses. Children in strollers didn't seem out of place. A lot of organizations offered child care. But those kids who were old enough to know were rehearsed. If questioned, they'd say - My mommy and daddy work for Little Learners (a tutoring service with a chain of charter schools.).. So they went to the zoo, or into Center City for lunch and shopping, or to buy sneakers. You get the picture.
But if you read yesterday's post, you know they all died. When the Special Ops types left with the little known exotic creatures, the computer data and Luna, Doctor Franklin's vampire, physician assistant, they locked all the exits, turned off the ventilation and detonated the gas bombs. Apparently someone in Washington wanted it that way. People with money know about the paranormal world. Some have first hand knowledge. They benefit by it.
Doctor Franklin knew something was wrong when he didn't get the call. They contacted him that way whenever he was away. But when he called the 'annex' (still a sizable outpost in its own right) up in the Poconos, they did answer, yet told him they weren't able to contact the Philadelphia complex either.
The day was very lonely for him. Edith, the witchy-woman housekeeper, fixed him some eggs. The old patriot ate in silence, put the plate in the sink and went back to bed.
That night, when the sun went down, Jonathon went to the 'Bureau.' He knew how to avoid guards. The Navy Yard was full of them. But he could sublimate just enough to foil cameras and so he slipped into the Anti-Enchantment Bureau with nothing but a flashlight. What more did a vampirino need?
He smelled the gas right away. Mortals would
miss it. Night-folk were different. When he sublimated down from the Little Learners offices into the top level of the compound, he saw them, a tangled mass of corpses... men... woman... families with children. Some were covered in dried blood. People must have clawed their way to the top, desperate for clean air, while those struggling beneath tried to force the elevator doors. Little children faired worst, broken like dolls. Jonathon saw it in bits and pieces, as the flashlight beam moved over them all. He found a few others scattered throughout the Bureau. Some levels were empty. Some families stayed together, lying on the floor. Wet cloths can only do so much. One poor little thing was all alone. He must have gotten lost.
Jonathon said a prayer and left.
Even Franklin's vast apparatus, the Grand Armonica was gone. The huge assemblage of large perforated crystal discs arranged by size along a thirty foot, bronze, horizontal pole (itself eighteen inches in diameter) was not there.
While a few hours to the south, technocrats loyal to the new regime tried to decipher their
<more next time>
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