Character: Sherri Rose
Quote: “The veil has been dropped, and I see what’s real. I’m learning, but the main thing I know is that life is hard, painful, and often cruel, but nothing is impossible. This is my second chance – I’m going to make the most of it.”
Sherri lost her parents in a car crash and so was raised by her Granny, a wonderful warm-hearted woman who could barely sustain herself, the house, let alone a child she didn’t expect – so had to work most the hours God sent to keep them afloat. As soon as Sherri could, she contributed to the household by cleaning other people’s houses – gaining pittance for her pay but at least it was something. A few hours here and there to gain cash in hand just to buy dinner that night for her and her Granny was worth it; and it got her out into the community, to know people.
Here she learnt that everyone was basically the same. Everyone was working hard to earn their roof, food and support their families as best they could without causing disturbance to the ‘whole’. People were afraid of change because what little they had could so easily be taken away. When bad things happened a lot of people turned their heads and ignored it – not because they were cruel or didn’t care but because they didn’t want that negative effect in their house, their family. They pretended not to see the bad things that happened – like the raping of 7 girls in the school in a 2 month period.
She saw it, she didn’t ignore it; she pushed to get involved, to make sure the guy who did it wouldn’t manage it again. She found him, confronted him – at the age of 14 no less and he was 16 and built like a brick outhouse – but she’d learned a few tricks; the main one being to be aware of her surroundings and to fight dirty. That’s what her Dad taught her when she was little, so when the guy came at her, threatening to do the same to her, she pushed him away. He hit her hard, shoved her up against the wall to give her what for and got the surprise of his life when she bit his ear so hard it pierced. When he backed off she grabbed the classroom chair beside her and broke it over his head. She didn’t realise her face was bleeding until the cops came after calling them and gave her medical attention, took the boy away and she was questioned for months on and off for the incident until it went to trial. She never thought her Granny could be so proud yet so worried all at the same time for her.
Sherri always preferred to be in the community then at home causing trouble. She’d spot her neighbour coming home and went out to help her with carrying groceries, taking the bags in and helping to unpack to save the lady’s old arthritic hands from aching. She’d encourage the kids on the street to play properly rather than be hooligans; raising money to buy kick balls and skipping rope because she knew how to bake or create. She even started a baseball team though she couldn’t play herself, she knew how to coach and guide the younger folk in team-work. She always used her creative skills to benefit others; which is probably how she ended up in arts school.
There she blossomed in her artistic endeavours, loving the feel of clay under her nails or paint in her hair – none of it bothered her. She’d try her hand at anything and, if she found something particularly difficult, explore every avenue of that until she understood it inside out and had it sorted in her head and hand so she can say she ‘owned’ that.
She took a very active stance within both equality treatment and anti-drugs campaign whilst in College, raising money for awareness in both of these endeavours. A very close knit of friends were either standing with her or dragged into all manner of funky trouble and stunts to get their agenda across. They’d climb the side of the clock tower to hang up a banner with a picture of racial equality – about 13 different people from racial backgrounds with symbols of various religions around them, all in a group hugging and laughing – just to prove a point. She’d organise information days at the sports centre for people to visit to learn about the positive and negative effects of drugs, ensuring that the information was as unbiased and factual as possible. She even ended up being asked to join seminars as a speaker because the effect of their work had been so profound that it had genuinely dented the community usage and, within California, they had considered their position upon the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) to allow those who require it medically for them to do so. This is how she got the attention of the L.A police department and was asked to join their ranks.
Sherri worked within the “Gang and Narcotics Division” in Los Angeles, her enthusiasm and genuine interest in her public work pushing her through the ranks until she was up for promotion Detective. She took part in raids and re-education programmes of felons, once clean and done their time, reassigned them to decent housing, work placements and to reintegrate them into positive working members of the community.
Sherri’s only solace and place of R&R was the local BDSM club where she’d kill time hanging out mostly at the bar. It was a genuine, well run place, given the thumbs up from both police and fire department as safe to practice area as no prostitution or foul play was tolerated in there. She felt safe, genuinely safe, in there, and no one judged her – in fact, they encouraged her to be there. She made great friends with the owner, Mino, and her wife Abi, both teaching her all manner of things in the weird and wonderful world of consensual, safe and sane play until she herself was teaching classes on rope play, suspension, dance class and even self-defence within the S&M community – how to recognise a good dom/sub. It was in the club she met Toni.
She sat at the bar, just gotten off her shift at work and drinking her usual quietly when he walked in with an interesting domme dame with stunning white hair, Eva, her name was, wearing leather so soft and naturally so she could have been doing it for a lifetime. Toni, she noticed, wore a long trench coat, dark sunglasses even indoors and nervous glance that made Sherri think he’d been through hell very recently; that look in his eye of pain deep to his soul – when he looked at her it was like he saw a ghost, he was so afraid… she wanted to take it away, that fear, her heart melting a little for him. She got him talking, understanding that she reminded him of a bad ex-girlfriend, someone who had taken him down a dark path. She showed him that she was, in fact, Sherri. That night she introduced him to the delights of the club, her fellows there, and even offered to show him how her own toys worked – which he happily took her up on. Over the next few nights they found themselves thrown together a lot; he was investigating a missing’s person case and she was doing the same, as well as after night’s exploration as Sherri taught Toni many exciting things about the wonderful world of sexual expression.
One night when they’d agreed to meet – she never showed; just like many patrons they never made it home one night after being at the club. Her fellow police got involved, naturally, and threatened to shut down the club which was Toni’s only lead and he was determined to find the cause of the missing people, more so now that Sherri was also taken.
She was the only surviving person left of the missing folk, the rest had been eaten after being used for ritualistic purpose and she’d been made to watch, told that she would be next; the good hearted cop would seal the ritual with her life’s blood. That was the night Toni and Eva found her – saved her. Sherri learned that night what they were, and to their surprise, wasn’t shocked. When Toni asked her why she smiled and said, “I’m a cop, Toni, I work with the community – at night no less. If I were blind I’d still see… just like I see you.”
Eva warned them both that night that darker things were coming. As an elder she could feel it and she wasn’t alone – other elders, within and outside of their sect, could feel it too; the signs were all there. She warned Sherri she had to be careful, keep her fellow officers above the trouble and stock up because it was going to get apocalyptic style hairy. Eva knew her duty; to travel and dispel wrong-doings where she could and Toni was now her ‘squire’. Now the job was done they had to leave; so Toni and Sherri had to say goodbye.
It was 2 years after that she took part in a raid in a derelict building used as a drug den; they’d gone in to arrest the dealers, given warnings and orders to lay down their arms only to be shot at – that was the night a guy in a mask shot her partner – dead before he hit the ground. She shot back, seeing the shooter about to take out her deputy next; a clean shot, right between the eyes. Even as her gun still smoked she marched up to the body of the fallen, wrenched off the mask to reveal a 14 year old kid. The rest was hazy, the world slowed down. She’d killed a kid… the lab results came back from the autopsy – he was so pumped full of LSD he didn’t know what he was doing. Accounts from the dealers told that they’d plugged the kid, forcing them on him to see how far he’d trip before he screamed. She’d killed the kid. She found herself silent during the investigation; she was told it wasn’t her fault, her conduct was perfect, if she hadn’t fired, her entire staff would have been injured or worse. She’d killed the kid. At her partner’s funeral the deputy’s family came up and thanked her for her conduct, the good work she’d already done as she was a pillar of the community and recognised for saving their boy plus countless others from these monsters that would torture and drug up boys. They thanked her for killing the kid and she felt sick with it.
She quit soon after, quiet even during the leaving party where every cop in the district said their piece, wishing she would change her mind and not leave. She packed up her things and moved to New York, “for a break” she said, a broken smile as she contemplated, “It’ll be quieter, like a vacation”.
Sherri got herself a small apartment in downtown NY, going back to her creative roots, just enough to make ends meet. She never needed much, just rent, food and travel costs. She’d save enough to put on a display down at the local gallery, raising money for her supplies and kids shelters locally. One day she was working on a commission when she felt a stabbing pain in her head, at first it just made her twitch, thinking it was a bad migraine – making her see things that weren’t there, visions of things in the past she couldn’t possibly know. She’d wake up after blacking out, surrounded by paintings she didn’t remember creating – but they were all hers; still images of things she’d seen. These she’d kept separate from the other works, deliberately not selling them.
The migraines and visions got worse and worse until they affected her sight. She was permanently in pain before she went to the doctor, finding out a few weeks later that she had a tumour in her head; this was the cause of the pain. She was put under an immediate course of chemo, up to her eyeballs in drugs and treatment, but was told it was highly unlikely it’d do much more than extend her life. She pushed herself past 6 months after the assumed date given of her survival; thin beyond recognition, alone, and terribly sick – she finally gave and answered when Mino called her.
Mino: “Where the hell have you been? We’ve been calling for weeks, babe!”
Sherri: “I’m sorry, I know, I… I’m not good, Mino… can you do me a favour?”
“Anything” Mino told her. Anything; Sherri asked her to contact Toni, if she could, she just wanted to see him one last time. Mino arranged for a meetup but didn’t tell Toni why, ensuring that a partner-club in NY and she’d be there, too. He arrived, prompt, asking Mino what the trouble was, and she told him to stay right there. She called Sherri – who came via taxi. It wasn’t far, but Sherri, determined as ever, was so weak and sick she could barely walk. She sat next to Toni, pulling herself up by the bar; he could see instantly she was unwell; so thin, pale and sickly. “Nice to see your sexy ass too, boss,” she said, breaking into a coughing fit.
Sherri told him everything since moving to NY; the cancer, the visions, the fact she was minus 6 months into her time left and her number was up. She said her only regret was that she didn’t have enough time to continue her work. Toni said “it doesn’t have to be, you could be like me” to which Sherri agreed; either way, she was swaying. Toni immediately took Sherri back to her apartment, at the last, picking her up bodily to carry her as she was so weak, recognising just how badly the cancer and chemo had wrecked her body – she was so light. He let them in and laid her down on the bed, asking her if this is what she really wanted; Sherri nodded, warning him that she’d probably taste terrible given the chemo’s effect on her and army of tablets that “made her rattle if he shook her hard”. He hushed her, held her close and talked her into a calm place, warning this life is not an easy one but if she was sure, he’d sire her, look after her. She nodded, “a chance to keep making a difference, a second chance, boss…”
He embraced her, watching over her until she awakened. He might have left her for more time to think about it but he was afraid she’d die any moment anyway – it had to be done. Her eyes opened, the first thing she saw, the first thing she smelt, was him. It filled her world and she smiled… Onward to a new endeavour, she thought, and never once looked back.
Since then she’s been introduced to some of the most powerful and diverse kindred, Garou and such like, learning as much as she can in as short a time as possible. To his word Toni has lent his hand to her learning even as he does himself in this complicated and diverse world; learning that though many childer might be timid and have to spend time in study before going out into the field – Sherri isn’t one of them. She learns effectively on the job, very quickly, showing herself to be anything but helpless in the face of danger or challenge.