I sat quietly in the backseat next to Harry trying to absorb everything he had told me. Diverting myself from that chain of strange events I thought back to leaving Tina's inn and how quickly I had accomplished so much. First I had taken the time to toss off my clothes and put on a clean blood free shirt and another pair of jeans. I saw that my jacket was a total loss but I had pulled out the silver knife I had snatched from the Gregg household before bundling it with the rest of the clothes I had been wearing. Then after I changed I had put the weapon in my purse which I had dug out of the closet where I had tossed it much earlier in the evening before I had left with Harry to go meet and greet folks. It seemed like days ago now -- lifetime ago as it truly was if I thought about it. So I tried not to think about it. But when I was looking at my blood soaked clothing I figured it all might be considered evidence so I bundled the mess up and placed it in a plastic bag supplied for the inn patrons to put out their clothes to be laundered. Once I had that together I put it in the bags that I had quickly repacked. Thinking of that I wondered if I was supposed to burn them or what. It was not like Harry was the most approachable sort for me to ask. I figured I would ask Misty when she popped up again. Somehow it went without saying that Misty would know how to clean blood stained clothing or dispose of it properly. I didn't have the time to take a shower and I could still smell Leo's blood on my skin.
Interrupting my musings Harry nodded at me and said, "We will get everything situated once we get to Mitch's place."
"Who's this Mitch guy?" Cinda asked while waving off the cigarette smoke drifting her way from Erika. Erika had begun to chain smoke once we cleared the county line and there were less ruts and dips in the road. Ironically Erika seemed to have taken over my smoking habit as I still had yet to even have a cigarette. My cravings were far different now. That was another little turn of my brain I was ignoring.
Cinda coughed softly to remind Erika of the gray fog heading directly towards her face. Erika sighed deeply and rolled her window down a bit. The smoke rushed out into the chilly night air. Cinda beamed back at me. I half heartedly smiled back as I was busy thinking about the other questions I had for Harry. I let Cinda have the first whack since she was better at asking a million questions in nearly no time. Erika had her hands full with the cigarette and the still icy roads. The car kept slipping and sliding on the frozen patches of the road but it was definitely much better than the town had been as now there was a lane or so on each side. Snowflakes still bounced around as we slip-slided down the somewhat plowed highway. Cinda turned back to Harry and arched an eyebrow at him.
He sighed deeply and said, "What Cinda?"
As if he forgot. I found that pretty funny. She had asked only a minute ago who was Mitch and he had pretended he hadn't heard her. But then Cinda did tend to babble so it was a good dodge.
Misty replied, "Nice try Fang-boy, so again who is Mitch?"
Cinda didn't bother to check back in as she was now letting Misty run the show. I guess that Cinda was going with her strengths and Misty definitely was strong. Harry tried to not get upset since he did know that Misty was less tractable than Cinda. Erika met my eyes in the rearview mirror and shrugged. She and I both decided to just let them work it out.
Harry grinned and said, "Mitch is Mitch. Why?"
Good non answer I thought as I watched Misty get ticked off.
"Dunno, maybe because I don't want to see Lynn and Cinda have to fight any more battles for your sorry ass. So who the hell is Mitch?" Misty was clawing for top. I had to admire her attempt even though the outcome could only be grim. My newfound vampiric state of being definitely colored how I was viewing the world around me, I could see the conflict and savor the tension rising from Misty.
He laughed, it wasn't his nice FBI boy laugh but that scary vampire one, "Misty, my 'sorry ass' has been in more trouble than you could even imagine. Be nice or I will send you back to where you belong." He hadn't answered who or what a Mitch was I noticed while he was threatening to send Misty away somewhere.
That reminded me of my main question. I hated to interrupt the conversation but it was a good point for me to ask my question I thought. I sucked in a bit of air and said, "Speaking of sending people back. Monster boys were from exactly where again?"
Everyone looked at me dumbfounded that I had spoken. It wasn't like I never spoke. Okay, I didn't speak much but at the same time it was a good question.
Both Misty and Harry stopped their bickering and stared at me with nearly identical expressions. You would have thought the back seat of the car was speaking by how they acted. I guess leather could have an opinion but their stunned glances were a bit much. I pushed back the irritation at their reactions and waited for Harry to reply.
"Ah Gwendolyn, that is a good question." Again he had yet to answer.
I arched an eyebrow and waited. So did Erika and Misty I noticed. Cinda was pretty well hiding from what I could tell by Misty's body language and that she had borrowed a cigarette from Erika. Erika was more than a little taken back by Misty's huffing down her smoke after all of Cinda's moaning about cigarettes. The still FBI agent had yet to figure out what exactly was happening with my friend Cinda-Misty. I watched the by-play between the two and was pretty pleased neither of them said anything. Harry finally gave into the pressure.
"Okay, some rogue vampire brought them over from hell," Harry said, like everyone knew this was something that commonly occurred. Well, Misty had said something about hell spawn so she must have had a clue. I was still adapting to the whole being a vampire myself bit to consider that there were other creatures out there besides humans and vampires. And hell was 'over' not under? That was interesting.
"There you go telling all of our dark secrets, Fang-face," Misty said while blowing out an impressively thick stream of smoke. So was Misty admitting to being from hell? Harry didn't say a word. But I did see his jaw tighten.
I didn't ask but Erika did, "What's that supposed to mean? Cinda, you personally knew those monsters Harry and Lynn slaughtered?" He was trying to keep it together and I did feel the pulse of vampiric bloodlust rise in him as he wanted to just kill both Erika and Cinda-Misty so they would stop asking him talking and asking questions.
Ouch, that had to hurt. I waited for the explosion.
It didn't come.
"No, but I recognized their tortured souls. You want me to draw a picture for you?" Misty answered and was now hostile. I wondered if I was supposed to introduce Misty to Erika or just pretend I didn't know.
Harry jumped in with, "Stop both of you!"
It was more of a Harry command than a simple request. I waited for the reactions and they weren't slow in coming. It was like watching two trains running down the tracks heading for each other without a clue what was coming their way. It wasn't a long wait.
"The hell you say!" Misty was not a happy camper.
"Harry, you know this is important. Stop teasing us," Erika was distracted from her driving and I felt the back wheels begin to drift. The car began to spin and I sat there watching trees flip around while Misty screamed. For some reason the idea of crashing and being killed seemed to be pretty much nothing to worry about as far as I was concerned. I looked over to Harry and saw the smile on his face. As a vampire apparently a car crash was not likely to kill me?
Harry nodded and the car kept spinning. Erika tried to wrestle the car back on the road but it wasn't working. Soon it was partially air born as we hit another unforgiving patch of frozen snow.
Now both Erika and Cinda, Misty had given up the body I noticed, were screaming like we were on a roller coaster. I felt the car completely leave the road and go over the gravel on the edge of the highway and into the woods. Erika and Cinda were bouncing around the front seat while I had braced myself against Harry instinctively. He smiled at me, fangs fully exposed in delight, and he held me to him in an iron strong grip. I wasn't bouncing anywhere. There were cracks and crackles as the car continued to careen over the shrubs and trees. Then the car stopped by slamming sideways into a large pine tree. Thankfully it was on the side of the car I was no longer leaning against but I watched the window across from us shatter and a branch fold open into the car. Cinda was the only one still making any noise. Erika was slumped over the steering wheel and the car was racing in place wedged on the side of the tree. It seemed odd to smell the piney scent and blood. Erika must have been cut open on the steering wheel. I felt my fangs fall into my mouth.
"Turn off the engine," Harry commanded quietly to the semi-hysterical Cinda. Misty was not even peeking at that moment I noticed from the comfort of Harry's arms. It was strange but there was no sense of urgency or concern coming off of him. But I had to hand it to Cinda, she did as Harry asked and only slightly whimpered as Erika painfully moaned. I guess she was still alive. For now.
My desire for blood was nearly unbearable. That Harry still had his arms around me was probably the only thing keeping me in the back seat. Erika was not rising to the occasion at all and Cinda was now openly sobbing. But other than that and the odd ticking sound the engine was making it was pretty peaceful. Then I smelt the oil, gas and burning car smell.
"Out, everyone out now." Harry didn't lose a beat once he noticed my sniffing. By then he, too, had caught the whiff of burning car wires or whatever under the hood that was causing that oily smell. The pine scent was long gone but the blood was still calling me. Misty ruthlessly pushed Cinda out and dragged a nearly lifeless Erika from the front seat. I was yanked out by Harry from the back seat in a single motion. Damn the man was strong. Then it dawned on me that it was probably part of the whole vampire thing. I had so much to learn.
The snow pack underneath a different tree than the one we had crashed into wasn't so soft I found as Harry flung me into the white fluff. Make that ice pack. Erika was thoughtlessly tossed next to me by Misty. My fangs were now longer than I could recall in my short vampiric life. Harry was tossing wet snow onto the hood of the car and I could hear the sizzle of whatever was malfunctioning underneath the metal. I didn't care. All I cared about was figuring out how I could fang into Erika and not piss off Harry.
Harry spun to me from where he was tossing the snow over the car while saying, "Bad idea, Gwendolyn. We still need her."
I wondered for how long as I pulled myself physically away from her saying, "Sure, Harry."
She didn't look like she would be surviving much of anything from the odd coloration of her skin and how she was now shaking and shivering. Misty stooped next to Erika and studied her closely before saying, "She really doesn't look so hot, Harry."
Her tones were detached and somehow chillier than the normal Cinda concern. I was busy burying my own craving to care much. Harry had asked nicely and I was busy trying to keep my focus. The waves of hunger in me seemed to be rising not dimmed in the least by the blood I had taken from Louella what now seemed like days ago instead of hours.
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