The first thing he did when Klaus released him from his slumber was to go to town. The compelled people Klaus had gifted him hadn’t satiated him, and he was angry with his brother. Klaus called it an act of mercy to undagger him, but Kol wanted revenge. There wasn’t a chance in hell that he was going to stay with his family. New Orleans, maybe, the witches here were powerful but other than that? Klaus could go to hell.
Kol was going to play nice, but he was going to get even. No, not even, he was going to kill him. Eventually.
But first, he needed to let loose. Mid-City would do. Loads of unfortunate souls who wouldn’t be missed. It was still dark, he could smell the piss and alcohol in abundance and it sickened him, but that was alright, he was still adjusting to being out of the box again. There was no way that he was going to go back in it. He was going to kill Klaus, and he wouldn’t be at his mercy ever again.
Still, there was still a chance that he’d be caught by his brothers, after all, it wasn’t that far away from the French Quarter, but he figured the area was too diverse for his brothers to ever set foot in the area unless they had dirty dealings.
He stayed at the waterside where he could feed on homeless people, and a seemingly abandoned building got his attention. It was run down, old, likely there for hundreds of years, and he could feel the walls vibrate with activity inside. There were sobs, yelling, general sounds of excitement. He could smell the fear and anxiety, but also the excitement inside the building. Something was going on and he wanted a piece of the action.
It was an exclusive ‘club’, but nothing that a little of compulsion wouldn’t fix. Once inside, there was a buzz of activity going on that he sort of expected but was still shocked to see. Well-dressed men were sitting in rows, looking at some sort of stage where someone was talking.
Where were the female sobs and cries coming from?
Kol quietly moved around, observed, listened, and, for some reason, he felt excited about this. In a sick, twisted way. And in a way that could benefit him, just for shits and giggles. He had stumbled upon an underground human trafficking ring, with the humans coming from poor houses or from sick bastards who actually bred people for money. It was morally wrong.
Slavery had been abolished for a long time now, even he knew that, but this was… sick and twisted, just like him, and it was quite arousing.
He just watched in fascination and once the event was over, he headed back home. He needed to get caught up with the times. This wasn’t the world he was put to sleep in. Even he thought that what he had witnessed was sick and twisted, and that said a lot.
He’d always been quick to catch up, so he wasn’t worried. By morning, he’d know everything that he needed to know, but even he couldn’t imagine how the world had become… stupid.
No, the world was fucked up.
Thirty years ago, some scientists in a lab created a virus that killed over 40% of the world’s population almost in an instant, and over the following years mostly the females. The humans were afraid that humanity was going to die out, especially because the virus could still linger in most of the women who didn’t die of the virus and some of the men were carriers.
Every country had one government facility where women could go to out of their own free will, be royally taken care of and were impregnated with the sperm of high ranking officials and should their child be a female, they’d get a bonus and given the choice to stay on or to leave.
But what Kol had witnessed earlier that night wasn’t officially sanctioned, was it? No, that had definitely been illegal. Then again, humans liked doing illegal things, especially if they could receive money from it. But to use women for that?
Maybe it were the hormones talking because he could really have a marathon session of meaningless sex, but since when were women treated as commodities and not with respect? Especially with the shortage of women – if he had to believe the articles he read on the internet – they should be treated like queens.
Kol decided to ask his brother all about this brand new world, and what he was doing to fix it.
“Since when do we care about trivial things such as that virus, Kol?” Klaus looked at his brother for a brief moment before focusing on buttering his toast. “It doesn’t have anything to do with us.”
“Doesn’t it?” Kol shot at him. “Honestly! To have food, we need humans on this earth, mainly women who can bare children and continue to produce our cycle of food! Not to mention for all of the other carnal reasons why someone would want to have a woman by their side.”
Klaus looked at his brother, curiously. It was unlike him to care about issues like these. “We also survived through the plague.”
“This is worse, Nik,” Kol shot at him. “I’ve done my research on that portable library of yours.”
“That’s a laptop.”
“If you say so.”
“Shouldn’t you be merry and eat your way through a home or something? Focus on having fun? Enjoy the good music New Orleans offers you?”
“Nik, come on,” Kol rolled his eyes at him. “Last night I went to do my usual after you decided to let me out of my box. You know, wanting to kill you – again, for boxing me, cursing you to hell, feed in mid-city before I went to the docks. Still wanting to kill you.”
“Your wish to kill me is an old one, brother. You’ll never succeed,” Klaus said amused. “But I always appreciate your efforts, they amuse me.”
“Glad you’re amused,” he mockingly bowed. “Some abandoned building drew me in, I believed I could have some more fun there, but all I was… I don’t know what I felt Nik, either like it was the best day ever or whether or not I should be disgusted.”
Klaus took a bite off his toast and nodded. “I know what you’re talking about. But why should it matter? I’ve lived for a thousand years, the humans have evil in their hearts and minds no matter what is going on in the world. Slavery was abolished in 1865 by law, but that didn’t stop people from continuing their business. Some got caught, others didn’t. We had a prohibition law from 1920 to 1933, but that didn’t stop people from making moonshine. While the majority of humans are ordinary, you’ve got those who see a gap in the market and go for it.”
He took a sip of his tea. “I have that area covered,” Klaus eventually said. “You just go and have fun like you normally would.”
“You have it covered? Seriously, Nik? You have it covered? I don’t think you do because they’re still in business!”
“Yes, because they’re the only one in New Orleans. I already closed down the others, brother. Relocated some of the more vulnerable women to a safe haven created by our sister, because like you, she threw a fit. How could we idly stand by while the world is trying so hard to keep itself together?” Klaus replied. “Brother, you just spent over a hundred years in your box. Go explore, have some fun, commune with your beloved witches.”
Kol was surprised to hear this. Well, not really, his sister always had an iron will and everyone would bend over backwards for her. Women’s rights were always Rebekah’s Achilles-heel. “You and Rebekah are really helping out?”
“Of course! Your sister wouldn’t let me hear the end of it, and you know how much I like to indulge our sister. I’ve got what I wanted with my curse being broken, and now I’m going to give her what she wants.”
He narrowed his eyes on his brother. “Just how are you helping those women? I smelled nothing but fear and anxiety out there and in the building.”
“I have someone on the inside, Kol. They know what they’re doing, don’t you worry. Now, why won’t you let this rest, and find something else to get your mind busy with. This century has some great entertainment you’d like, such as mind numbing videogames. Or explore the city. You’ve been away a long long time, no need for you to worry about a potential food shortage.”
“Of course,” Kol relented as he finally grabbed a pastry to have a snack. Yeah, right. He wasn’t going to let this go, while his brother always knew best, something simply didn’t feel right about the building, about the people in it. He could always tell if one of his brothers were involved in businesses, either by covering things up or participating in it, and this felt off. Chaotic. Out of control. He wasn’t sure if Nik had everything under control as he claimed; after all, allegiances could change.
He was going to be out in New Orleans all day, and then he was going to return that night.
Movies were no longer silent, or black and white, and they were for sale on shiny discs in stores. There were discs with music for sale as well, but as the nice boy at the electronic told him, music could be bought and put on devices, and Kol compelled him to do just that; the best music from the last 100 years, and instructions on how to use the device as well.
Kol listened to the music while he observed the differences, learned new things – he had the electronic devices figured out quite quickly. The more that changed over the years, the more things stayed the same.
People were hanging out in the streets in the Quarter. Alcohol richly flowing, junkies, people laughing and dancing, just having a good ol’ time. But no unattended females. No prostitutes, no witches. Females were on the streets, but accompanied by a male chaperon. Their husband or their boyfriend. It was easy to spot the rich women who had one or two bodyguards.
He felt for them, he truly did. It made him glad that his sister Rebekah was a vampire, bratty, and able to fight people off, because she would never allow someone to chaperon her. Which was likely why Elijah was with her, being the overbearing big brother that he was.
What had changed was Nik. Usually Kol would only be let out of his box when Nik was bored or needed him to kill people, and he’d usually get to hear that fresh out of the box. But right now, Nik was telling him to go and have fun. Explore.
Something wasn’t right.
While he was happy to be out, being stuck in a box was horrible, he could still hear and feel movement, something wasn’t right. Nik wasn’t just nice. Not like that.
Kol ran back to the compound in search of his brother, passing people who were glued to their phones and didn’t look they were going on the streets. It was an accident waiting to happen. “Nik!”
“Back already?” Klaus replied as he leaned over the wrought-iron railing. “What’s the matter?”
“Why did you unbox me? Not that I don’t appreciate it, but why did you?”
He smiled then. “A favor to a friend.”
“Ah, that would be telling,” he smiled at his brother. “But rest assured, I promised that person I wouldn’t box you again.”
“Who, Nik? Who’s your friend? The one who you have working at that building?” Kol’s eyes sparkled with curiosity.
“Oh, they’re not my friend, brother. Well, not exactly. More of a… means to an end, I suppose. A surprise,” Klaus replied as he made his way down the stairs. “But that’s all I’m going to say about them. They will reveal themselves to you when they’re willing.”
“So you let me out of my box to annoy me,” Kol nodded and sighed. “Well, that’s just grand, Nik. Can’t you just tell me?”
“No,” Klaus sighed and shook his head as he walked towards the alcohol table. “They truly are a force to be reckoned with and I do not wish to be on their bad side. They already made my life complicated once, do not want it to happen again.”
“Who are they?”
“When the time is right,” he reminded him. Until then, you have to entertain yourself,” Klaus took a sip of his bourbon. “How was the city? What do you think of this century?”
“Everyone is on their phones, they don’t see where they’re going. I’d love to drive a car, though. They look like they can go really fast,” Kol poured himself a drink. “As far as unaccompanied women, I suppose nothing’s changed. They still have chaperons. Or bodyguards. How are the brothels, brother? Filled with willing women or are they bought and sold, too?”
“Some,” Klaus took a sip from his glass. “Debauché is the place to go. Their ladies are clean, healthy and willing. They want to be there. They were born free and are well taken care of. Would you like me to ring ahead and tell Ann to expect you?” Klaus took his phone out and started to dial Ann’s number. “My treat. For having let you be boxed for so long.”
Kol downed his glass in one go and nodded. “Sure, why not?” There’d be enough time to have some fun before he’d go back to the abandoned building. “You have a madam on speed dial?”
“She’s not a madam, Kol. Ann is under my protection and the girls who she houses are under hers. If you misbehave, I’ll hear about it.”
“But you won’t box me for my indiscretions, you just told me.”
“True. However, you will suffer the consequences nonetheless and I won’t even have to lay a finger on you,” Klaus said with a playful smile on his face. “You run along now, Debauché is on Dumaine. You can’t miss it.”