"I'm sorry I doubted you."
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you, or take you with me. He wasn't in a compromising mood."
It was Rafaela's turn to laugh. "Did you expect him to be? Those were his children."
"Most of us aren't that fond of our offspring. It was more of an affront to his ego than any true affection."
"How many did you take out?"
"Only four. They got the jump on me."
"Hiding in the ether?"
"How did you guess?"
"I had fifteen."
"How the hell did you get away?"
He chuckled softly. "Glad I wasn't there. I'd have a hell of a sunburn."
"I thought about what you said about the nuke."
"You want to do that?"
"No. But what if we used light? I know it doesn't burn you to a crisp like they show in the movies, but it still hurts."
"It's not a favorite, that's for sure. What do you have in mind?"
"Still working on it." She turned the car northwest at the next intersection.
"Where are we headed?"
"To see someone who specializes in weapons of mass destruction. You're not the only one with connections, you know."
Dirk tried to smile, but she could see he was in pain.
"Check the cooler on the seat next to you."
He opened it and found several bottles of red, viscous liquid. Each was neatly labeled with type, gender, race and date. Dirk laughed loudly. "I know you didn't do this yourself."
"I raided the stash of a guy I killed awhile back. Bastard was a real sicko. He was a serial killer. He kidnapped his victims, slowly bled them dry and killed them. He bottled their blood and kept it on a shelf in his pantry."
"Wow, that is pretty sick. I've had my dark times, but that's twisted."
"But it will come in handy. I'd kept it for bait, but it looks like you need it more than I do."
Dirk put his hand on her shoulder. "Thank you." His voice caught in his throat. "I do love you, Rafaela."
"And I you, Dirk."
He opened a bottle, downing the contents with a contented sigh.
He burped. "Sorry. Yes. Mind if I have a nap?"
"No problem. I'll wake you when we arrive."
Dirk made himself comfortable and closed his eyes. For him to be so willing to sleep, Rafaela knew he was badly wounded. She drove quickly, her destination in mind. She stopped briefly in Birmingham and exchanged her car for another one. Dirk mesmerized the owner of the small second hand lot to take her modest Ford as a full trade on a three year old, dark gray Camaro.
"Why a muscle car?" she asked for the third time as she pulled out of the parking lot. "We could get better mileage with a different model."
"Perhaps, but I want something that can really cook and hold the road. If we get in trouble, you need to be able to get away."
"And what about you?"
"I can zap out Houdini style. You can't."
She had to concede that argument. They drove several more hours, finally crossing the Arkansas line. Rafaela adjusted her route and slowed the car, pulling to the side of the nearly deserted road.
"You need to drive now. I'm beat."
"Where am I going?"
"Stay on this road until you see signs for Oark. Then wake me."
"Got it. Sleep well, Ella."
She went in the back seat and fell immediately asleep. She didn't wake until Dirk spoke to her.
"First sign for Oark."
"Pull over, I'll drive."
They changed places.
"You'll have to hop out before I drive up to the house."
"Are you serious?"
"This guy doesn't like vamps. He never met one he didn't want to kill. I need to talk to him without you there."
© Dellani Oakes 2017