Better Late Than Never
"Cassandra, you don't even know where Morgan is perching. Being this is Morgan we are talking about, give it a thought. He could have snuffed a local babe, and is now using her house as a base. He is well known for that." Harry knew this since some of the nasty habits he learned were directly from Morgan's little list of tricks. They had run around for a time when I was busy with my own games. Their history was pretty murky, but I had never bothered to ask any questions because Harry would have just lied to me.
"Find him," I growled to Harry, still pacing my anger. I felt caged by time, and by all the new eyes out there focused on me. I couldn't just tear myself away from my current issues to go out and locate Morgan. From what he said in the message, he definitely planned on staying around. Message, hell, it had been a warning. That made it twice in the same night, in my own home, I was warned away. My anger needed an outlet or two. Dawn was approaching and I was very tired.
Stupidity is the best way to kill a vampire. And with my lack of sleep, and with the tape, and various messages I had been belted with in the past few hours I needed to stop and think. Any happy thoughts I had about seeing Harry again were gone with my anger.
"Spare room is open. You are welcome to stay as long as you like," with that, I abruptly left. Harry was smart enough to leave me alone.
My room was my haven. No, there was no coffin. There were wonderfully efficient black-out curtains, and not a sliver of light entered my room. The pillows stacked up on my king-sized bed were thick and luxurious. My current addiction was high thread count linens followed by silky soft comforters. I went into the bathroom and stripped. Soon I was asleep.
I woke with a start. I sat upright, aware someone was near. Then I recalled Harry was spending the night. My tension didn't ease, because it wasn't just Harry. There was a heartbeat and blood racing through an active human body. I quickly gathered my wits as I dressed.
The clock on the dresser pointed to the hour of four. I knew it wasn't four in the morning since I was feeling nearly refreshed. I felt close enough to dressed and ready to face humans so I went out to see who Harry had allowed inside my house.
Male laughter floated towards me as I went to my kitchen. Two recognizable voices; one was Harry, the other a little less familiar. I made no attempt to be quiet when walking, yet still Kirk jumped like I had hit him with a cattle prod.
"Damn, you startled me." Kirk was ashen. Harry was sipping coffee from my favorite large black mug. The quip lettered in white on the side of the mug said, "Just give me coffee and nobody gets hurt." He toasted me from the kitchen table and smiled.
"You know Kirk here, don't you, Cassandra?" I guess he was okay with Kirk finding him dressed in ill fitting sweats in my home. Well so much for hiding our past and present connection from Kirk. I walked over and snagged the coffee from Harry saying, "Thanks, just the way I like it." And drank deeply. Harry was the one that taught me to drink espresso grade beans and he hadn't stinted with my stash in the freezer.
"Yummy, you found the Kona okay, I see." No surprise there since there wasn't much more than coffee beans in my freezer.
Kirk smiled weakly at me and asked, "Do you have any cream or milk?" I was puzzled for a second then remembered I had some chalky substance -- supposedly a cream substitute -- I kept around for Liz when she visited.
I walked to the counter top and opened a cupboard. It took me a minute to find the jar but then I handed it to Kirk without a word. He thanked me quietly and poured some of the mixture into a perfectly good cup of coffee. Humans.
Figuring how best to play this, I decided for the full disclosure. I walked back to Harry and kissed him softly on the lips. "Thanks for letting me sleep in, dear."
Kirk now was lusciously blood-colored as he blushed at seeing his boss getting a kiss. Taking it a step further, I snuggled next to Harry and handed back the coffee cup, sharing. Harry smiled and nodded his understanding. A united front might slow down Kirk. Or not. Either way it was fun. He placed his lips on my cheek first saying, "No problem, honey, I know how worried you are about Greg. You were up nearly all night looking into his disappearance."
Together we turned towards Kirk.
Harry propped his arm around the top of my shoulders and gave a gentle squeeze. He was letting me play it my way. Kirk had remained standing next to the sink and was dressed in nearly the same thing he had on last night at the diner. I did notice his finger tapping against the tile.
"Oh, Kirk, do you need an ashtray?" I remembered his newly-returned habit.
His fingers twitched and stopped. "I don't smoke," he proclaimed despite the pack of cigarettes in his upper shirt pocket.
I looked pointedly at the shape and arched an eyebrow. Silence stretched out this time and he said, "Ah, hell. Please."
Nervous fingers drew out his pack and his hands had a very slight tremble as they pulled out a cigarette. I got up and found an ashtray behind a stack of plates. I set it next to him and returned to Harry. Kirk had already lit the cigarette and was slowly drawing in on it. He blew out the stream of smoke slowly and then tried to frame his thoughts. He took another puff and began to talk.
"Here's the thing, Cassandra, we haven't found your cousin's body. But the investigators from last night seem to be pretty positive at least two or more people were slain inside the van. The problem is there are more than two types of blood. Even with all the restraints in the van and the bondage material," here Kirk blushed again as if I was unaware of Greg's oddities, "there seems to be a number of different blood types. And from the first reports I am getting, it may be a van from a series of murders."
"No, that can't be right," I protested, dropping my head. It wouldn't do for Kirk to see my eyes were laughing. Harry nuzzled my neck and hissed softly, "Don't over play it." His voice was barely audible I responded aloud, "Thanks, sweetie, I am okay."
I glanced up with a pale face and said, "Is there anything I can do to help?"
Kirk replied, "That list I asked you about last night? Did you get a chance to put together the people who were at Dark Whispers that night?"
"No," I said. I hoped Harry would be able to do what I was about to say happened. Last night I forgot to make a series of calls 'looking' for Greg. If Kirk pulled my phone logs, he would see that immediately. I reached under the table and squeezed Harry's leg to give him the heads up.
"I was on the phone and calling a few people. Kenyon wasn't answering -- most of the folks weren't answering. Kenyon would be better at giving you a list as he has seen Greg more recently than me. I only ran into him when I was visiting Kenyon. I haven't had a chance to find out who this Elisa woman is and who her friends are."
Harry nodded as if sympathetic and said, "I came when I heard and found Cassandra was overwhelmed by the job."
Nice. I just hoped he would be quick enough to fake some calls for me. He nodded slightly to me and I knew he had already fixed this for me. I sighed and said, "Kirk, why are you here? I would have called you once I woke. I got your message last night."
Kirk finally joined us at the table. He brought his ashtray and mucky coffee with him. He sat next to Harry. I think I still bugged him, go figure.
"Harry, there is something odd going on here. Everything I find out about Cassandra's cousin says he is some nut that killed a number of people. Now someone killed him. But there is no body or any suspect."
He paused and lit another cigarette off the one that was nearly done. Slowly he stubbed out his last cigarette while composing his thoughts. He continued, "Cassandra, your cousin did not associate with good folks." I noticed the use of past tense but didn't comment on it. "And Elisa had been reported missing by her boss, but not her best friend. She appears to have disappeared also from what that lady's boss said."
Kirk looked completely at a loss. Neither Harry nor I felt any need to fill in the blanks for Kirk. While we waited for Kirk to go on I looked at him closely. He appeared to have more lines around his eyes and mouth than just the night before; this case was literally ageing him before our very eyes. No longer did I think he was mid-thirties, but closer to fifty. He glanced at me and confessed, "Cassandra, I am sorry to tell you I think your cousin was some sort of mass murderer and Elisa was caught in his web. Maybe her friend Lani too. I just don't know yet."
Tell me something I didn't know.
I kept that thought to myself and said, "Yes, Kirk, my cousin has always been different. I am sorry I can't be of any more help. I chose not to associate with him years ago. He was just so odd."
Kirk was trembling and finally he said, "Harry," then he looked at me and added, "Cassandra, there is more. I think that something is wrong with your cousin and his friends."
My brain slowly picked up on what little was spinning in Kirk's brain. Harry was right, he was carefully blocked, but all that he had seen and heard sent him past the basic controls, "There is something wrong with Greg and his friends at Dark Whispers. I think they are into something dark and bad."
Here he broke off in a nearly hysterical giggle. Oh my. I didn't think Mr. Grady here was doing well. I leaned in and put my fingers over his mouth.
"Kirk, stop." I commanded. I pushed with my vampiric talents to rein in Kirk's fears.
His eyes got round. With Harry by my side I pushed deeper through his fears and said, "Kirk, do you hear me?"
He nodded his head slowly. The cigarette burned nearly to his fingers. Harry reached over and plucked it from Kirk's slack fingertips. My eyes were intense as I intoned, "Kirk, you know what Greg is into with his friends?"
Kirk nodded and stuttered out with, "They are drinking each other's blood. They are pretending to be vampires. They are killing people." Here he shuddered.
I looked at Harry and said, "So now what do we do? Welcome to our world, Kirk." I sighed. Today was not shaping up any better than yesterday.