Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Christmas and a Vampire - Part 19

"Dirk," Seth called after him. "You take good care of her, you hear?"
"I'll do my best. You staying?"
"If you don't mind."
"I appreciate the reinforcements." Saluting, he went in the bedroom and shut the solid wood door behind him.
"Put the bar on it," Seth called quietly. He smiled when he heard the heavy oak bar drop in the cast iron slot on the doorframe. Settling down, he lay on the couch, his shotgun in his hands.
Dirk curled his body behind Rafaela, his arm around her, holding her close. He pulled the other blankets over them. The room was chilly and a little damp. He hadn't thought to check the heat, wondering if the old place had a furnace. Suddenly tired, he didn't feel like getting up.
Sleep came hard. He couldn't seem to unwind and relax. He felt like far too many people knew who they were and what they were doing. Not that they exactly knew what they were doing. It was insanity, whatever other name he wanted to put on it. He was working with Hunters to kill his own kind. Not that he objected to killing other vampires. There were always squabbles and battles with one group or another. He didn't mind that part. What bothered him was that he'd joined the enemy. He would be seen as a traitor after this. He wondered if he'd be able to survive the fallout this alliance would create.
Finally too tired to give another damn, he fell asleep. His dreams were haunted by nightmare images of big black creatures with fangs—and each of them had his face.

Rafaela woke the next morning to the smell of coffee and biscuits. She also detected bacon and, if she wasn't mistaken, omelettes. Sitting up too fast, she clutched her head. The room swam around her, and she threw up a little in her mouth.
The door popped open. Dirk's frowzy, unshaven face came into view. His welcoming smile disappeared quickly when he saw her.
"Baby? You okay?"
"Yeah." She swallowed hard as bile rose again. "No."
Seth followed quietly, concern washing over him as he looked at her. "She okay?"
"I can answer for myself," Rafaela snapped. "I'm not completely disabled."
"Close enough," Seth replied caustically. "Do you think food would help?" he directed at Dirk once more.
The vampire had been doing a quick and thorough assessment. His heightened senses could pick up on irregularities in her blood scent, pulse and respiration. He checked her eyes, smelled the odor of her vomit and exhaled sharply, his frown deepened.
"This is a hell of a dose," he said to Seth. "I don't see how it could be just from the shampoo and bubble bath. The injection for the stitches she had would have affected her before now. Could there be something in the cabin doing it?"
"I don't know how. Nothing at my place, either."
"Maybe it's something other than just the wolf's bane?" Dirk asked.
"I'm fine!" Rafaela interjected. "I need food and a shower. I promise I won't use any soap."
Seth got up quickly, followed by Dirk. They went out to examine the water supply. Rafaela had a cistern for rain water, as well as a small, deep well. Sniffing around, Dirk located them both. He ripped the tops off. There, floating in the cistern water, was more wolf's bane.
"Someone's sure got a hard on for our girl," Seth commented as Dirk scooped out the offending plants.
"So it seems. I assume your cabin is unsullied?"
"Yeah. It's fine."
Dirk grabbed Seth's shirt, yanking the younger man's face close to his as his fangs descended. "Now's the time you confess. If you did this to her, I'll kill you where you stand."
"I didn't do this," Seth growled in reply. "She's not only my aunt, she's another Hunter. We need our numbers to survive against your kind. Unlike you, we can't propagate. I may not approve of this relationship, but I wouldn't do anything to hurt Rafaela."
Dirk inhaled deeply while he gauged the Hunter's pulse and watched his pupils and respiration. He could tell that Seth was telling the truth.
They checked the well after the cistern. It wasn't contaminated. Seth got a pipe wrench and set about redirecting the water flow so it came only from the well. To be safe, they emptied the cistern to remove anymore contaminated water.
"We know how," Seth said as they ate their meal. He'd fixed fresh coffee with bottled water. "We don't know who or why."
"It could be anyone," Dirk replied. "Over the years, Rafe's made a lot of enemies."
"I doubt it was a vampire," Rafaela speculated. "But it could have been a mesmerized human. I doubt my wards would affect them."
Seth shook his head. "I keep telling you, Auntie, you need to go more high tech. When we're done with this job, I'll get you set up."
© Dellani Oakes 2017


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The Best Medicine by Dellani Oakes – Part 40

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