Kore was smoking at the back door, when her iPhone rang muffled – an unknown number. On answering a mysterious male voice asked her if she would be interested in him helping out on a burglary of sorts. He identified himself as Adrian Rushbrooke, of Rushbrooke Fletcher, and Kore was out the front door on her way to meet him before the others in the house realised.
He picked Kore up in his Aston Martin DB11. He was distinguished, 50’s and dashingly grey?
He explained his situation to her on the drive out of London, into the green countryside.
He had discovered a book that he wanted, and that would be useful against vampires, was at a country house, and through some contacts he had finangled an invite to there for a party that evening. He wanted Kore’s help to steal the book, called Le Dragon Noir which would doubtless be guarded and locked away.
“Cool!” she smiled.
They arrived at the party in the early evening as the sun set. Expensive cars lined the driveway and curved around the gravel space in front of a large sprawling manor house. The rich and privileged walked around and mingled, Adrian and Kore parked and exited the car. DRESSED?
Inside the double front doors, the gathering was denser. Attentive waiters offered drinks and crudite to them as they entered.
“Let’s split up, you search for the book, I’ll disengage the security systems” Adrian offered.
Kore explored a few of the busy downstairs rooms, nodding and smiling at the other guests as she smoothly worked her way through the chatting groups.
There were guards, barely disguised in dinner jackets, blocking certain doors and she sensed a division in the guests, some were more trusted than others. Kore considered, but decided against trying to get through. Over her earpiece, Adrian confirmed he had found the security office. “The book’s probably kept in the North wing, go there” he commanded.
Annoyed she explored the outside, she joined a few other people who still smoked. A path lead through shrubbery around to the north. She watched the few scattered people, then when no-one was looking her way, slipped off into the garden and around to the north.
The North wing was extensive, and guarded on the ground floor. No guests were visible. At at dark corner, she ripped off the skirt of her dress, a short strip of fabric for modesty. Out of her purse she pulled a thin fabric backpack, shook it out, and put her skirt, shoes and purse in, then swung it onto her back.
Beside her a cast-iron drainpipe rose up to the second floor, and roof line. She shinned up along the stone carvings to a second floor window. A quick, delicate explore with a thin metal blade and the window was open, and she was in an unused guest room.
“Hurry up” Adrian suggested.
She explored the floor, hiding from a maid. More guest rooms, some used.
At the end of the wing were double doors, thick dark wood, old and tough. Carefully picking the lock and disabling the magnetic alarm sensor, Kore enters the large room.
Surrounded by clear floor stood a display case, with a large, medieval looking black covered book.
Kore carefully climbed under and over the invisible laser lines that diced the air around the case. With a small screwdriver and pick she clicked open the lock holding the glass front, and held the alarm sensor closed as she opened the front and extracted the surprisingly heavy book.
The book in her backpack, she told Adrian, as alarms sounded. “Get out!” he ordered.
She slipped through the beams and out along the corridor. Guards and trouble were coming, so she snuck into a side door, an office. Disabled the window alarm and slipped out onto the ivy covering the wall of the the west side of the North wing.
Climbing down, the ground floor was well lit, windows open. She could hear a conversation between several men. She was working her way round when the contents of the discussion made itself clear, and she hung there, on the side of the building, listening.
Guests and guards were moving around below, and she had to leave. Dropping down she ran around to the front driveway. There were gaps in the rows of cars, but the DB11 was still there, Adrian was not yet.
She worked her way to the car as guests departed panicked. Her hand opened the passengers door. There was an explosion, the car door flew out to batter Kore as a bomb exploded on the drivers side.
Lying on the gravel, hurt, bleeding and dazed, Adrian Rushbrooke appeared and took the backpack off her.
“Thanks” he said, and walked away. Kore tried to stand, but it took a minute for her vision to clear and the world to stop spinning. Standing she could see Adrian driving calmly off in a queue of other vehicles. Around her were damaged cars and frightened guests, running for shelter.
Kore found a Lamborghini nearby that looked drivable, the car keys in the ignition. She drove off, fishtailing on the gravel, the low-slung underneath grinding over speed bumps on the drive entrance.
In the lanes she couldn’t keep up with him, blood kept running into her eyes and she had a splitting headache.
She stopped the car on a back lane and a motorbike pulled with two women in white leather on it.