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Linc softly closed the door to the dirty motel room as I placed the exhausted boy on one of the beds. The little guy was safe for the moment, but my brother and I knew it was only temporary. Tomorrow we’d have to be on the move; better to grab what sleep we could now. We’d have to do it in shifts, since we had to stay awake later to stand guard over him against other vamps who had found out about his existence.
Linc offered to sit the first watch and I gratefully climbed under the stale, wrinkled sheets, only taking time to kick off my bloodied boots. My head sank on the pillow and I let my thoughts wander over the night’s events as I drifted off to sleep...we’d gone to the bar, where...
Raucous laughter erupted out of the seedy bar on Beach Boulevard as a meaty bouncer tossed out a rowdy drunk who fell on his ass in front of my brother and me. We were here, instead of doing the easy clean-up of a nest on Brant Street that we’d be hired for, because I’d gotten an email from our sister Jill. She owned this dump and had heard that someone was quietly nosing around, asking about a special kid who lived nearby, a child whose blood he’d pay big money for, he’d said.
We went inside the bar but didn’t see anyone who looked like the undead. Jill noticed us and nodded, but the place was rocking and she was busy with customers and didn’t have a chance to talk. After about twenty minutes, we figured we may as well leave to stake out the house and make sure the kid was safe. His mother, Fanci, knew how to look after herself, but it felt like something to do and we’d sleep better if we knew the boy was okay.
Ten minutes later, we saw the house, sitting forlornly on the Beach Strip. Through the window a faint, flickering light cast shadows on the walls. I shivered as a cold breeze came up. A feeling of foreboding crept up my spine. I put my fingers to my lips and Linc nodded in agreement. No need to talk… that ‘triplet thing’ we have comes in handy sometimes. We stole closer and peeked in the window.
Everything appeared normal, even peaceful. Fanci sat with her back to the wall, cradling her little boy in her arms, her face snuggled into his neck. A guttering candle stood on the table in front of them. But something wasn’t right. The hair rose on the back of my neck.
Suddenly, Fanci lifted her face and my blood froze. I heard Linc gasp. Horrified, we saw the fangs that protruded from her lips, mere centimetres from the child’s neck. Sharp, ivory daggers pointed at the throbbing pulse in her child’s throat. She was crying, tears streaming down her cheeks. She licked his neck and the boy shuddered. She pushed him away violently, and then grabbed him again, roughly pulling him back to her chest. She threw her head back. A wailing rollercoaster of sound started: an unearthly howl of despair, then a shriek, followed by an obscene giggle that ended abruptly, and then nothing but a terrible silence. Fanci fixed her glittering eyes on her son and smiled wickedly. Her grin disappeared, and she sobbed aloud again. She bent over the child’s neck.
We didn’t waste any more time. We hit the door full tilt, smashed it off its hinges, and tumbled headlong into the room. Fanci leapt to her feet and hissed at us. Before we could grab him, the boy ran between us and took off through the open door. Linc charged after him and I blocked the door, staring at the woman I had once loved.
She was still beautiful, but now irrevocably changed. A deathly pale face framed by shocking red hair stared back at me. Her eyes were liquid coals and when I looked into them, I was irresistably drawn in. She held my gaze for a defiant moment, then looked at the floor. She started to cry.
“What happened?” I asked sorrowfully. We both knew what was coming. “How did they get you?”
Her mood shifted rapidly, as it would now that she was changed. Her gaze grew crafty. “Someone came to the door, Dax. Someone I trusted.” I raised my eyebrows.
At that moment Linc came back in, carrying the struggling boy. Fanci’s eyes glittered with evil anticipation when she saw him, but she held herself in check. She stuck out her tongue, lasciviously licked her lips, and her teeth grew long again as saliva dripped from them. Instantly the spell was broken. I turned away in disgust and she tore her attention away from the boy.
“Not yet”, I started to say. Fanci interrupted me before I could ask her who had come to door.
“Yes. NOW. Let me die. I can’t bear to think of what I’ve done to my baby… your baby,” she said. Linc’s eyes widened and he turned his head towards me.
Before he could finish, Fanci launched herself at me and sank her long fangs into my cheek, slicing a huge gap under my eye. Instantly, she dropped like a stone to the floor. Linc buried the child’s face into his shoulder, shielding him, and I bent down and carefully stroked her hair. I was numb, as always, after a kill. But this was worse. I had loved her, once. Maybe still did. I knew Linc did.
Blood from my wound puddled on the floor and I stepped in it as I went over to stand beside Linc.
“Not too pretty”, he grunted. “You may not want to look in a mirror for a couple of days.”
“Yeah. Matches nicely with all the other scars, eh?” Linc grunted again and gave me the boy.
“I’ll move her out back”, he said. “The sun will take care of her tomorrow. You hold the boy.”
The child didn’t move or speak for the ten minutes it took Linc to drag Fanci’s body outside. He was in shock, and I knew we should get him to a hospital, but there’d be no way to explain the blood work results they’d get back on him, so my brother and I would just have to look after him the best we could. That meant taking him back to the grimy motel we’d holed up in.
Linc came in, wiping his hands on dirt-encrusted jeans. He went by me without a glance, stepped on the broken-down door, and disappeared into the night. I knew he was thinking about Fanci’s words, and I knew a conversation was inevitable. But it would have to wait until tomorrow. The kid needed sleep, and so did we…
Morning light stabbed through the flimsy curtains and I sat up, groggy with sleep. I could hear water running. Linc was in the bathroom, talking softly to the boy. The water stopped and the door opened. Linc came out, the kid’s hand in his. When he saw me, he said, “We gonna have that talk now? About who’s the daddy?”
I groaned. Linc was going to make a hellish day even better…
|Outrunning the Storm|
|The Greer Agency|