Our driver hadn't answered Misty. Always a mistake from what I had observed in the past week. She took a deep drag and asked another question.
"So we aren't going to talk about your past? I guess that means we have to discuss what's been going on this past week in your little corner of town."
Granted he really wasn't asked a true question but he replied, "Shut the hell up you bitch."
Nice language, I was right in thinking he was creepy. Harry had tightened his hand over mine keeping my fist from finding the back of Art's head. Erika really didn't need another car crash that much was true. But still it was tempting to simply smash his head to the side window once or twice for effect. I refrained from doing anything and let Misty continue her fairly one sided dialogue with Art.
"So Art, come on, tell us how you came to be in our little town. What did you tell the old church ladies? Something about how you were trying to find your spiritual way? Or was it that your mom died suddenly and you had no family left?" Misty launched another stream of smoke over Art's head and I could see he was starting to get a bit mad.
Erika looked over at Art and said, "So why did you move into the town?"
He tried to act nonchalant and kept glancing in his mirror at Harry and me. Harry cleared his throat and arched an eyebrow and said, "You going to fill us in or should I just let Erika shoot you?"
He wasn't kidding but Art chuckled. Alone. We all waited. Erika pulled her gun out and began to look at it with a marked gleam of anticipation. Somehow I knew Harry had let Erika shoot someone in the recent past. I knew it without being told. She had felt obligated to him since then but had been rebelling it all until she came to solve my mystery. She liked shooting people. Harry preferred something a bit more up close and personal.
But then so did I now. In fact, Art with his dodging direct questions was making him appear extremely nervous because he didn't know who really to be afraid of with all the byplay happening in the close space. His fear was rolling off of him like a fine perfume scenting the car as he glanced at Erika who was still playing with her weapon. Now he was even more appealing to me and my cravings. I pushed down my baser instincts and wished I could enjoy a cigarette like Misty obviously was. I missed the action of smoking but felt absolutely none of the desire. It pushed home even more that I was no longer human.
Art snarled out, "Okay, fine I killed my mom. Is that what you wanted to hear, Cinda? You really are a creepy freak. The church ladies say you are cursed and pray for you." He was aiming low. The reply came unexpectedly from Erika. She smacked him in the face with her gun. His cheek was cut open instantly by the metal. The station wagon stayed on the road just barely as he cried out in pain. Misty followed up with a growl of her own.
"Art, you make it sound like you simply wiped a stain off the counter or some other minor cleaning detail. You shot her then hacked her into small chunks dumping her at the curb for the garbage men to pick up. In plain sight of the entire neighborhood, how smart is that?" Misty was pretty much snarling herself now. Her eye was glowing and she was smoking quickly exhaling her smoke like it was fire inside of her escaping. Maybe it was. She definitely had a bit of an edge to her.
The blood running down Art's right cheek was making me physically tremble with need. I had to keep this in check. But damn all these temptations were wearing at me. Harry gripped my hand and said, "Pull over."
Again it was that command voice not a request. I could feel the power of Harry's voice dance along my skin. Erika put her gun away. I didn't know if that was good or bad.
Without a word Art complied. The car slowly edged to the side of the road. The tires kept slipping and spinning until the car finally stopped. I heard Erika exhale softly with relief when the engine jerked to a stop. She was a bit nervous about the whole second accident idea. I didn't blame her but at the same time I still wanted to fang into Art.
Without a word we all piled out of the car. Art stood next to his door still in the middle of the highway. Misty came around the car to stand with Harry, Erika and I on the shoulder of the road. The snow was no longer soft fluffy flakes but hard pellets intermixed with snow. I missed the large pretty flakes and shivered in my light coat. The wind was vicious and slammed through me. It made me even hungrier. But then Art was still bleeding and Erika had her fair share of scrapes and bumps. I felt my fangs brush my lips.
Harry wrapped his arms around me the moment we were out of the backseat. Misty was still growling softly in the back of her throat at the intimate looking gesture. What she didn't realize was he was holding me physically to him so I couldn't spring at either Erika or Art. I was nearly mindless with cravings and all that was literally keeping me grounded was Harry. He leaned into my hair and quietly soothed me saying, "I will take care of this. Don't worry. Think of something calming and we will get you out of this." My body was again strumming.
The backdoor on the passenger side had been left open and both cats were now twining around my legs talking and rubbing. Their cat talk was also keeping me focused. I noticed that the snow didn't seem to bother them in the least. Erika had paced to the front of the car and was now smoking. Misty made a sound of disgust and walked up to where Erika was and caged another cigarette. Their mumbled conversation drifted back in snippets of white noise. They were scared of us. Both Harry and I were not acting how either of them expected. Erika figured I was going to kill Art. She was wrong. Harry would be. I knew this now. My smile was wide. Their conversation dropped off to near whispers. Their fears rolling off them drifted to me making my hands tremble.
Carefully Harry slid his hands along my body. I didn't flinch as he found the silver knife in my pocket. I was going to be able to quench my thirst. The fear that would satisfy my hunger nearly as much as drinking his blood I knew instinctively. Harry nuzzled my neck and said, "This should help,"
He edged away from me and walked up to Art with the knife held closely by his side. I was the only one who knew he had it. I had removed it from my purse putting it in my jacket pocket when we grabbed our stuff from Erika's wrecked car. My purse and overnight bag were still in the station wagon along with the rest of the things we had brought with us. I had felt safer having some sort of weapon and given Erika's gun she had the same instinct. Now both Erika and Misty had grown quiet watching Harry go around the car to the middle of the road to meet with Art. Misty was still smoking and savoring the simple act of being. I wondered how long Cinda could be pushed out from Misty. Days or hours? It certainly didn't seem to bother Misty in the least that she was keeping someone else from being in their own body. Erika was no longer tempting me. She had changed in the past hour. She had healed. She also was staring at Misty with a critical eye. I think she was playing back the conversations we had and was wondering why Cinda got called Misty. She had yet to ask us out right so I kept my mouth shut. Her vitality was rising with her curiosity I guess it was part of the whole vampire-human link. Cinda would eventually benefit from me, I knew this without being told. But I didn't need to push any more nosiness into Cinda she was pretty full of questions all on her own.
"Art," Harry said while rounding the car, "You killed your mom in cold blood?" His voice was pitched very low and I trembled with hunger.
Nevertheless I thought that was pretty funny given Harry and his little bloodlust issue. I still could see in my head how easily he had killed Frances and Leo. The knife was unnecessary from what I saw but he showed Art the silver knife nevertheless. A fingernail had sliced through Leo's neck like a hot knife through butter. He had snapped Frances's neck nearly as effortlessly as he had slain Leo.
Art paled and said, "But she was evil. She molested me from the time I was ten." His voice was sincere and Harry paused. He stopped walking and looked directly into Art's eyes. Time pulsed and flexed as they locked eyes and the rest of us waited. Harry turned to me and said, "Gwendolyn, he has been scarred deeper that I realized. He is not lying. His mom definitely deserved death."
With that he turned back and walked to me handing me the knife in plain view of everyone. I felt stunned. It looked like we had just picked up another human. I sucked in a deep breath of icy air while the cats leaned on each of my legs. Harry knew more than I did. There was a need for Art I guess, even if I didn't see it, Harry did. I nodded and simply returned to the car. But I did put the knife back in my pocket not my purse. No need to hide a good weapon out of reach. Both cats joined me as I took the spot in the middle. Silence fell upon human, nearly human and vampire alike as they regarded me sitting in the car. I had nothing to say. My hunger pushed at me like a hundred pounds of dead weight. I knew Harry would satisfy my cravings but for now I was done. I just had to see where this was going. Still so much of me wanted to tear into Art, my mind knew it was wrong, but my hunger didn't have such moral boundaries.