First appearance of DayStar in FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE:
I called out, "DayStar, don't you have more important people to be toying with than small potatoes like me?"
A chuckle like brittle bones breaking came from out of the darkness in front of me, "Should auld acquaintance be forgot, Samuel?"
Out of the blackness a voice, like the tolling of bronze bells far off in the distance, spoke cold, "You have interfered one time too many."
"That's been said before."
"Not by me."
The half-moon peeked out from behind a cloud and for a flicker of an instant I caught two gray eyes studying me. Deep, gray eyes that seemed to look inward as well as outward. Eyes that appeared to burn with cold fires.
Then all was darkness again. "I know you must have wondered how you’ve survived against me all these years."
"It had crossed my mind once or twice."
"At times there was a hedge from my enemy around you."
I pulled up straighter. Damn, it had flat never occurred to me that his madness had kept him from killing me. Madness you ask. Yeah, DayStar was as nutty as a can of Planters. The strongest paranormal I had ever met, mind you, but insane as you could get. Maybe the two went together in some way.
And what was his delusion? The name he chose to go by gave it away. "DayStar" was the English translation of the Latin name found in the Vulgate version of the book of Isaiah. Lucifer.
It was insane I know. But then, so was he. But he was also so powerful my mouth got dry just thinking about some of the nightmares he had wrought without strain.
I was facing a lunatic paranormal that thought he was Lucifer. But unlike all those nuts you saw who thought they were Napoleon, the delusional facing me had the sheer intellect and power to make more than a few people actually buy into his psychosis.
Including my best friend, Renfield.
But I was hardly going to call DayStar on his madness right now. Jung had warned me long ago that you didn't get anywhere you wanted to go by confronting a delusional head-on concerning the absurdity of his claims.
And when said delusional had the sheer paranormal power DayStar did that went double. It flat didn't matter when a man dropped an A-Bomb on you if he thought he was a kumquat or if he was stone-cold sane, you were still just as vaporized.
DayStar spoke again. "Tonight that hedge is gone."
The darkness actually seemed to grow denser around me. "I went to some effort to bring Katrina to New Orleans only to veer away, building up hopes of escape, then have my carefully constructed levees collapse in the fashion I wished. Such despair and death. It was delightful."
He was crazier than I thought. He actually thought he had brought Katrina to New Orleans. But then, I had been in the limo when Elvis made it stop so he could demonstrate to me and his bodyguards how he could make a cloud move. Since Elvis had just fired Red and Sonny West, his two childhood friends, none of the remaining guards said a word. Me, being me, I had told him to just listen to himself. I told him I had good doctors that would wean him off the drugs that were ruining his life.
He had left me on that country road. Being alone, I had enjoyed the company – if not the walk.
DayStar took two steps towards me. "But then, you had to interfere."
Thinking back to Elvis, I said low, "I do that sometimes."
"No longer. That meddler Nagin was supposed to be already dead with the Russian Mob firmly entrenched here. And Theodora was already to have a beachhead established in New Orleans by this time. I need this revenant war as a distraction. And I will have it!"
"A distraction from what?"
He ignored me. I didn't mind. I got the same kind of treatment from his supposed enemy, the Great Mystery.
I sensed more than saw him approach my table, the sound of his steps steady, firm and unrelenting. Heard the chair opposite me being pulled out. Felt as well as heard him sit down in the plush leather chair and neatly arrange his clothes.
"Armani if you are wondering, talking monkey."
"Only the very best for the very worst."
He laughed as if I mattered. I smiled back as if I gave a damn. We both weren't fooled.
DayStar’s words were little more than whispers,
"Once the world lived by night. The dark drew people together. Under its cover, they could feel the need for each other. But I gave the night to the predators, kept for myself the day so that the living could look into eyes filled with fear and hatred.”
I fought the urge to challenge his delusion. I reminded myself of Jung's warning that challenging the delusion of a madman only made matters worse. And when said madman had the power to wither a man with just a whisper, making things worse seemed like a poor game plan.
I shrugged. "You see what you look for. I take it that the company I was expecting isn't coming?"
"Alas, no. I informed them that I had other plans for you."
"They take it well?"
"What do you think?"
"Any of them still in one piece?"
"Samuel, you know me better than to think I let anyone rest in peace."
I sighed. "Any of them still among the living?"
"Of course. They all are."
His laughter was a thing of nightmares. "They just aren't enjoying it."
His voice became even more hollow. "Man. Bah. Even when I show him the truth of life, he wastes his potential, what pathetic little of it exists."
He chuckled, "Some are born to sweet delight. Some are born to endless night."
A coldness seemingly born of that endless night radiated from DayStar. "Man. Disgusting talking monkeys, nothing more. An endangered species from the very beginning. Not particularly fleet of foot, unless chasing after another man's wife. No large teeth. No claws except for his tongue. A wonder you have made it this long."
It hit me then. All this time I had thought he was a human. The next step up in evolution maybe, but still a human being. Damn, but what if he were something else. An alien. A member of the Sidhe I had never heard of before. A wanderer who'd slipped into our dimension from another. Or an invader from Elu’s mirror world.
I shoved those questions on the back burner. I could mull them over later. If there was a later. Now, to try to banter my way out of death. A part of me asked why I bothered. I had no answer to that. Reflex I guess. Or maybe quitting just seemed lazy somehow.
"Don't you have a government to topple, a politician to corrupt?"
"All in good time, Samuel. All in good time."
He laughed, "In fact, I am having a marvelous time right now with the opportunities still afforded me by Kristina. Whispers to bruised egos to insure one agency will ignore another. Stroking of inflamed pride to keep insufficient mouths from asking for help until it is too late. Suggesting of shallow men for pivotal positions. All so simple. All so enjoyable. All so effective. Government agencies are so much fun to play like puppets. And the nature of human nature makes it so easy."
His voice lowered until I had to strain to hear it. "And the helpless die." ***
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