Monday, December 18, 2017

Christmas and a Vampire - Part 18

"What do we do with the soap? Flush it?" Seth asked.
"And release it in the environment?" Rafaela shook her head. "I don't know yet. I'll figure out something. I can't believe Claudette would try to poison me. She made that bubble bath herself. Werewolves hate that stuff. I can't see her ever handling it."
"How about vampires?" Seth asked Dirk. "You guys like that stuff?"
"Not a lot. Our reaction is mild in comparison, but that was a strong concentration. I imagine it would be enough to slow me down."
"I'll take it," Seth said. "I'm sure I could find a use or two for it." He stood, intending to go to the bathroom.
Dirk beat him to the door, disappearing and reappearing with an audible poof. "Don't even think about it. I won't allow you to have that powerful a weapon against my people. It would be more dangerous for you in any case. You're not quite as close to undead as you'd like to think."
Seth backed away, heading for the door. "You can do this without me," he told Rafaela. "I'll bring the globe over before you leave."
"Seth, mi querido hijo. Please. . . ."
He turned around, his hand on the doorknob. "You haven't called me your darling son in a long time, Auntie. Not since Miri."
"Then you weren't listening. You'll always be my dear one. I need you on this. Let's work as a team like we did before."
"You're asking me to work with a vampire," he protested.
"I'm asking you to work with my friend," she countered. "Probably the only true friend I have."
"He's one of them, Auntie."
"He's one of us, Nephew. He's agreed to help us kill his own kind. That has to count for something."
"You're right, Rafaela. Dirk." He held out his hand.
The two men shook hands, indulging in a short pissing contest as they tightened their grips. Rafaela rolled her eyes in disgust.
"Fine, get it out of your systems. But if you hurt each other, don't expect me to have any sympathy."
Rafaela crawled to her side of the bed, snuggled up in the blanket and fell asleep. The men gave up trying to impress one another and went to the kitchen. Seth fixed a pot of coffee while Dirk went through Rafaela's things, checking to see if there was wolfsbane in anything else. He also detected some in her shampoo, making it no accident. Someone had deliberately tried to kill or incapacitate her.
"The question is, who had access to her stuff?" Dirk asked.
He spoke as if they were in the middle of a conversation, not twenty minutes after it, but Seth understood his thought process.
"Claudette's family, the guests, any staff at the B&B. A stranger on the street?"
"Obviously not a stranger," Dirk said, shaking his head. "This was thought out and deliberate."
"How did it affect her? You said she hadn't gotten in the tub yet."
"Rafe always pours the bubble bath in her hand, then stirs it in the tub. That way, it doesn't over bubble."
"So, maybe the assailant knew this?"
"Or maybe it was purely bad luck. I think we can rule out Claudette and her family as suspects. Wolves hate this stuff—hence the name, wolf's bane. It's like the opposite of catnip. It makes them crazy in ways we can only imagine. A dose this concentrated would have made them all wacko."
"Leaving staff and guests."
Dirk nodded. "I'll be back soon," he said, standing abruptly.
"Where are you going?"
"To track this down. If there's a traitor in that household, we need to eliminate the threat. Rafe uses that as a refuge. If she's not safe there—"
"She's not safe anywhere," Seth replied. "Do you really think it's worth tracking down now? It doesn't have anything to do with the vampire lord and his offspring."
"I suppose." He sat down, fuming.
"I know," Seth said. "You want to exact justice, bring the guilty party under the gun. Maybe rip out a throat or two."
Dirk shrugged, his laugh bitter. "Yeah. For all the good it would do."
"When this job is over, I will personally help you track down the culprit and I'll even hold the bastard while you rip his throat out."
Eyeing the younger man with a new respect, Dirk smiled. "We might turn you into a fanger's friend yet."
Seth scowled. "Don't count on it. I'm working with you for Rafe's sake. I don't give two shits for you."
"That's okay," Dirk replied as he headed to the bedroom. "I don't give even one for you." He waved. "Nighters, Nephew."
© Dellani Oakes 2017

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