I was inside undetected, that had to count for something. Right? More likely I had just been lucky. I shuddered at the thought that there might have been a silent alarm on the window to detect intrusions or worse that it had been left open to lure people in.
I brushed the idea as best as I could and moved out of the darkened room, which seemed to be some kind of lounge; a few classy couches, armchairs and a long coffee table that faced a fire pit. The smell of tobacco soaked the furniture in the room, which made me think it was a cigar lounge. I didn’t have much of a plan from here on; I just knew I’d need to get to the second floor for his office.
As nice as Sebastian Coil’s mansion was on the outside, it was much more impressive on the inside, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of disgust at the decor.
Coil had built his little domain’s to look something like an old palace the white marble floors in the hallways contrasted by the earthy dark woods of the side rooms like the one I’d entered from, the colonnades placed every so often, alcoves between them placed for the sole purpose of holding statues, paintings, potteries, engravings and tapestries, all carefully labeled with name and origins. Just as I did, Coil had seemed to get the urge to cover his place with art, except instead of cheap four dollar posters, it was with priceless antiques. A single one of which could have allowed me to buy a house. If I could fence them. Without being caught by the cops… Or Coil and his lackeys... Or that there wasn’t an alarm installed in the displays…
It was a dumb idea, but sue me for considering it, being poor sucks.
I spent some time carefully wandering, looking from room to room, hoping one of them contained service stairs but couldn’t find any. I resigned myself to taking the grand staircase in the lobby. I approached as sneakily as I could, which was surprisingly well, I’d always been good at being quiet and hard to notice (when I wasn’t dressed as conspicuously as usual) if it was just a talent I had or some part of the whole “Daughter of a vampire” package, I had no earthly clue.
I creeped into the mostly darkened lobby, the only sound and lighting came from the grand fireplace at the center of the wall facing the entrance, framed by the twin grand staircases that lead to the second floor, where a dying fire was giving its last breaths. I froze for a moment, I’d say it was to take in the surroundings and watch for guards or anything, but in reality I was terrified.
This is way too easy. I thought.
It didn’t feel right, I’d expected any form of opposition: minions, coils himself or some kind of Bond-villain deathtrap but nothing was there. All I was confronted with was a darkened, empty mansion and the sound of my heart about to jump out of my chest and lands on the opposing wall as the sole obstacle in my way. I tried not to think about it, but it was like trying not to think of elephants, it became the sole thing I could focus in. So instead I started singing my favorite song in my head, distracting myself. Not the smartest move to do when infiltrating a villain’s den, but it was better than just staying frozen in place until something did happen.
With a great deal of hesitation I approached the stairs, slowly putting a foot on the aged wood, making it creak oh so audibly. I felt my heart stop and I thought it’d be finished, but instead nothing came of it. So I put the other feet, unleashing a second creasing. One by one and excessively slowly I climbed the staircase, expecting all manners of evil to befell me.
After what felt like an eternity, I put my first foot on the marble tiles of the second floor and felt relieved. Nothing had happened. Which in hindsight was still very scary, but at the time I enjoyed the return to the deafening silence.
The second floor’s hallway was much like the first; Columns and artwork, but the contents had changed. The floor below housed the kind of things you’d find at a rich collector’s house: Old mings, paintings by famous artists and the like. Up here, something was off; gone where the little plaques explaining the piece’s history, all of them were encased in thick glass prisons. The items themselves were also more esoteric; An old deformed dagger, a dusty leather tome with tattered pages, a shield with a solar emblem with a red drop of blood within, A length of paper thin chains, another book; this time metal-bound with pages made of the same material, and a broken flute. They felt less like art and more like trophies. I couldn’t help but wonder what their origins were.
Finally, I reached the end of the hallway, meeting face to face with thick wooden door that rose tall. I peeked at the bottom and no light seemed to escape the thin crack that separated the hall from the room I supposed was the office. I put my ear against the door, listening, trying to find the sound of a breath, of a footstep, of hands against a keyboard, of pen meeting paper or of pages being turned; Anything that would betray the presence of someone on the other side, but nothing came. It was as deserted as the rest of the damned mansion.
I opened the door which was unlocked, once against stirring up this dreaded feeling of ‘too easy’ within my chest. The office was big, bigger than my whole apartment in fact. It contained a truly massive Louis XIV desk taking up the center of the room, slightly shifted toward the back third of the room, thick curtains covered the windows. The walls of the room were covered in an alternating pattern of Display case, bookshelf, display case, Rinse lather repeat. But more importantly; It was empty.
I was beginning to wonder if anyone ever came into the mansion. It wasn’t dusty, so someone had to at least clean it and the smell of tobacco in the lounge I’d first entered in had signalled that it had been used. But above all I was distracting myself from the realization that I had no plan. I’d rather assumed that he’d be there, in his office as opposed to his bedroom -- Coffin room? Did Vampire sleep in coffins? The fact I didn’t know only highlighted the fact this was a bad idea even further. -- or at a charity dinner in honor of homeless kittens or whatever philanthropist millionaires did in their free time.
I was faced with the choice of either going back and forgetting this whole thing, assuming I could sneak past the guards again. Or waiting for an opportunity to strike as I was already in position. Despite my better judgement, I opted for the latter, I’d already had gotten too invested to pull out, I justified myself.
I adjusted my pack, rather than in the back, I let it cling at my left hip, partially open. I removed the scraps of cloth, taking a stake in my hand, before putting it back and wrapping the piece of cloth around my face. It seemed silly to do that now of all time, but I hadn’t seen any camera. Which didn’t mean there weren’t any...
So I stood just there. Waiting. Someone was bound to come by, right?