CAUTION: The following is a story about the death of Julian Luna. It is similar in a way to the death of Mark Frankel. I realize that this may upset some people. If you think you will be upset by it, please don't read this, or skip to the bottom for the homage. I wrote this to deal with my pain. May it help you with yours. It is the first piece of fanfiction I've ever posted. No flames please. All other comments welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mary Katherine is a fictional character who was Julian's son's mistress; embraced by Julian with Archon's permission. Mary Katherine is an extremely successful money and people manager, of late from Switzerland where she "died" publicly and had to leave. Oh, and I have no idea if the road from The San Francisco Times to the Compound would bring Julian to the roads in the story. ********************************************** THE ACCIDENT Copyright Kayla Clark 1996 Mary Katherine sat in the crimson crushed velvet winged- back chair, that her predecessor so often occupied, and stared into the fire. After sitting with her in a silent sharing of sympathy for nearly an hour, Daedalus had taken his leave only a few minutes earlier. She still couldn't believe it had happened. On the other hand, given the prevalence of automobile accidents in this modern day, one had to wonder how such a thing had not happened before. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ After a long night at the Compound and The Haven handling various Kindred and business matters, Julian had spent the morning and half the afternoon with Caitlin and other members of the newspaper staff working out the details of various stories and a merger. Tomas opened the door to the limo as his Prince left the sun-shielding walls of The San Francisco Times building. The sky was clear and the day was gloriously, painfully bright. Julian's skin burned as he crossed a patch of sunlight. Tomas opened an umbrella to protect the Prince while he climbed into the deeply shadowed car. His mind concerned with the finer points of all the deals he'd handled during the last 20 hours, Luna pulled a bottle from a tiny cooler and drank. He hated the stuff, but knew that he would be dangerous to others as well as putting his own life at risk if he didn't feed. The bottle of blood, which he compared to cheap wine gone bad, was for emergencies. The few remaining drops merely stilled his immediate need. Part of his mind considered feeding from Tomas or having the driver find blood, but thoughts of his other responsibilities clamored for attention and he decided to wait until reaching the Compound to feed properly. Jack Garner never knew that he had a potassium deficiency, that a banana for breakfast instead of a donut would have saved his life. He passed out without ever realizing he had done so, and he never saw the black limo that his 18- wheel semi plowed over. Bystanders saw his body fly out the window and crack onto the concrete, never to move of its own accord again. They also saw two men crash through the broken doors of the dark car onto the street. Blood streamed from gashes created by the glass and metal. Detective Frank Kohanek sat in his sedan eating a hot dog at a drive-up fast food place when he overheard a description of the accident over the police radio. He mentally tuned it out until the dispatcher gave the license plate of the limo. "My God!" Kohanek turned the motor over and slammed out of the parking slot in seconds, throwing the cheap meal out the window. He grabbed the mic and said to the dispatcher, "Kohanek responding. Please describe victims." "Two white and one Hispanic male." "Dammit, Judy, is one of 'em Julian Luna?!" "General description sounds like it could be, but no positive ID yet." "Tell whoever gets there first to put a dark blanket over him." "Paramedics are en route." "Judy, for chrissakes! Listen to me. Tell 'em to cover him! It's important!" No answer. Probably to be expected, Frank thought. They all think I'm crazy. He pulled out his cellular and called the Prince's Compound. An elderly female voice answered, "Luna residence. May I help you?" "This is Detective Frank Kohanek. Do you know who I am?" "Yes. What can I do for you, Detective?" "Get some people out to Van Ness and Market. Julian's been in an accident and is bleeding on the street in the sun. I'm on my way, but I don't know if I'll make it in time. Hell, I don't know what to do if I *do* get there in time." There was no response. He pressed the FLASH button to see if he'd accidentally hung up on the secretary. Nothing. She must've hung up while he was talking. He gunned the motor and shot past a suit in a grey Volvo. Five minutes later, as he turned onto Market Street, he could see smoke rising over the heads of the people in the crowd. "Please let that be the cars," he pleaded to Whoever was listening. He parked at the edge of the crowd and shoved his way through. It wasn't the cars. Two of the bodies were in flames. Three paramedics were huddled in shock several feet away from the fire. "Blankets!!" Frank yelled at them as he ran towards the rescue vehicle. "Put the fire out with blankets!" The paramedics snapped back from their shock and obeyed. As he grabbed a blanket, Kohanek heard the scream of motorcycles zooming towards him. Working together, the four humans killed the flames in seconds - just as Cash, Lorraina and two other Kindred burst through the crowd, running. The uniformed policemen controlling the morbid crowd dove after the four bikers. The leading cop grabbed the trailing Kindred who, without turning, kicked the cop into the crowd. Cash stopped, turned and ordered his people to continue. To the policemen, he spoke sharply, "We don't want any trouble. I'm only gonna' say this once. I'm in charge of security for Julian Luna and my people and I are going over there." As Cash turned, he closed his eyes and swallowed. He already knew what was to be seen. His senses had told him when he past the building at the corner that his Prince - the Kindred who had been his teacher and friend - was gone. He had to be strong for his clansmen, so he opened his eyes and jogged over to the bodies. He glanced into Kohanek's eyes before kneeling beside his comrades. The detective had moved the paramedics away from the Kindred, saying that Luna's security people were specially trained for emergencies. "I'm sorry," Frank said to Cash. "I got here as soon as I could. Is there anything that can be done?" "No," Cash replied quietly. "He's gone. He's free." ~~~ Mary Katherine, whom Julian had been grooming for the last five years to be Prince of San Francisco, placed her Sire's ashes in the nearly two hundred year old coffin in Manzanita. All the San Francisco Primogen and many of the San Francisco Kindred had gathered to pay their last respects. Many eyes brimmed with blood tears and the redness and puffiness of many other eyes betrayed earlier tears. Cameron was too smart to display hypocritical tears. He attended to make sure the Prince was dead. Eddie had been fooled - he wouldn't be. Cameron offered to help Daedalus and Cash lower the coffin. After doing so, he dropped a long-stemmed white rose into the grave. "Peace be with you, Julian." Every Kindred present followed the ritual, wishing Julian Luna peace, thanking him for his help, reminding themselves that he was now truly free and had gone to the light. Waiting until everyone had shared their time with Julian, Mary Katherine held her rose over the grave and, paraphrasing words of the author Mark Rein-Hagen, said, "To be Kindred is to be trapped by the Hunger. The Beast may only be kept subdued by the greatest effort of will; to deny the Hunger enrages the Beast, until nothing may keep it in check. Thus we must commit monstrous acts to stop ourselves from becoming monsters - that is the Riddle. *Monsters we are, lest monsters we become.* That is the paradox of our life. "Julian was the greatest among us at restraining the Beast. His teachings, strength, fairness and compassion will be his legacy. You deserve your freedom, my Sire. You deserve final peace and eternal joy." Tears streaming down her face, Mary Katherine, Prince of San Francisco, dropped the last rose, picked up a handful of dirt and drizzled it over the flowers, turned and walked to her limo. There would be plenty of time to mourn. Now, her Sire would want her to secure the city. ~~~~~~~~~~ Eternal peace, Mark. Thanks for the entertainment! Peace and Health to your family in their grief.