Quickly Misty began to play in her normal aggressive manner, adding a flashy bit of style with shots a tad more challenging than straight pool. She was very good. Her new partner was quick to take advantage of her first missed shot. He laughed loudly and said, "Not so clever now are you?"
"We haven't finished playing yet now have we?" Her voice was mocking. She walked to the table and snagged her mug. She toasted the man with the remnants and polished it off in a quick gulp. Art was quick to refill the empty glass.
The jaunty attitude worked and the man missed his next shot. He growled something less than appreciative under his breath as he relinquished the table to her. Misty was in fine form and quickly ended the man's misery. He didn't want a rematch and stomped off while muttering less than pretty things.
"I guess he isn't looking for sex or beer over here," Misty laughed after him as he slunk off. I noticed nobody else ventured close enough to put down change on the ledge. We were being snubbed by the locals and visitors alike. I wasn't greatly surprised given the aura of trouble that surrounded us all. Art was still drinking but not as quickly as either of the other two women. Harry and I both had a full mug of beer being ignored in front of each of us.
Erika and Misty decided to play each other and that was truly comical as they both were getting pretty drunk and not as quiet as they thought they were. The discussion of shooting pool went south quickly to Erika shooting guns. Harry caught my eye and indicated the front door. I casually got up from the table and wandered outside. Harry was behind me a minute later.
"Leaving men in parking lots now huh?" He was grinning.
"Don't look at me that way, they were still alive, right?" I grinned and felt the chill of the winter wind kicking through me.
He laughed and nodded, "True enough."
"Besides I don't like being handled. The big one thought he was going to move me somewhere more secluded." I shrugged.
"You did far better than I expected." He put an arm around me and we walked further into the parking lot. It was nearly midnight and the snow was piling up in small white drifts. A couple came out giggling and weaving. I saw it was the folks who occupied the room next to me last night. Looked like she forgave him his mistakes and they were heading back for more thumping and bumping. I wondered if Kitty had earplugs for sale in the little store.
"Harry, what happened to my fingerprints that were taken at the house when my mom was murdered?" I blurted out. It had been driving me crazy ever since I had thought about it last night.
Harry laughed. "They got lost. Something about how small town cops don't know where they put them was what went into my report." His smile was even wider and I felt a weight lift off me. At least I wouldn't have to worry about them floating around out there to help FBI agents find me when I was a vampire filling the requirements of my personal liquid diet.
I had wondered if those prints would be conveniently lost during the shuffle by Harry. And it looked like he did exactly what I thought he'd have done. Then a small worry crept in my brain. He hadn't known I was going to be a vampire then, had he? He kept saying I was changed quickly and without the proper preparations and yet he thought to misplace my fingerprints. An uneasy feeling of being maneuvered ran over me. I shrugged Harry's arm off from around my shoulder.
I nearly lost my footing as my shoes slipped slightly because I hadn't realized how icy the parking lot had gotten. Harry looked at me startled.
"What is wrong with you?" He genuinely surprised.
"How long had you known you were going to make me a vampire?" I asked with a hiss.
Harry took a step back and didn't reply. That made me growl slightly. My fangs prickled my lower lip.
"You always knew you were going to make me one, didn't you?" I asked sharply.
"Gwendolyn, you are what you were always going to be. I didn't mean to turn you this soon, you are right. But this is what you were born to be." He was serious. He was telling me I had no choice in what I was now and was always going to have been made a vampire. I was stunned.
Part of what had kept me going without flipping out was the thought that my becoming a vampire was a tragic offshoot of my mom's murder and the town going insane with the hellspawn and rogue vampires. In a single moment that was taken from me. This wasn't something that just happened by mistake but planned. Okay, he was saying it wasn't planned for this past week, but it was planned. And it sounded like I was created to be a vampire. I wasn't sure how to take this news. My heart hurt.
"Gwendolyn, you are needed. Don't worry so much. It will all work out once we get you to Mitch and have you learn what you need to survive. I don't think I am doing a good job," here Harry looked upset at his failings. I was still apprehensive but willing to see what was going to happen.
"So you want to go back inside and watch Misty and Erika play pool?"
"No," I said. "But what are you going to do about Art? Cinda told me you think he is responsible for multiple murders." I felt compelled to ask.
"More than those murders. But Mitch will take care of him. As far as the rest of the world knows he will have died with the town. In a week or so they will find his station wagon and body somewhere to make that a reality." Harry seemed pretty sure of himself.
"But we were here together at the motel. Isn't that going to be discovered?" I was worrying for no good reason but still I was curious.
He laughed, "Trust me it will all work out."
Slowly it dawned on me that Harry and Mitch, whoever he was, were going to kill Art. I looked into my soul and found out I didn't care.
"If you say so," I replied softly. The chilled wind whipped my hair into my face and I sighed. My life had got far too complicated in the past few weeks for my comfort. I missed my mom and my couch and just worrying if I was going to be able to get enough sleep every night. Now I had to plan and plot to keep out of trouble. It definitely was a change from my usual concerns, to say the least.
Slowly pulling the strands of hair out of my mouth I trudged carefully across the ice-patched parking lot and back to the motel. Harry walked quietly along side of me, and soon I was back in my room getting the feline verbal abuse dished on me by the cats. They took exception to the lack of tuna and I quickly fixed that problem. Harry hadn't left me but just watched and waited. I wasn't quite sure what he expected me to do. A knock on the door startled me but thankfully I avoided jumping. Harry still grinned as he went to see who was there. He had noticed.
I could smell them both before the door was fully opened. It was Erika and Misty smoking and giggling. They were pretty drunk, and Art was behind them a few steps apparently waiting to catch them if they fell. I wondered how they hell they made it up the stairs. The old adage must be true that God watched out for drunks and fools. Art wasn't looking too thrilled by whatever had made them leave the bar so soon. In fact he looked pretty rumpled and sloppy. I could see black marks on his pants legs and snow covered him lightly. It just took a minute to hear the story.
"Can you believe that old letch put his hand on me?" Misty was laughing and pushing Erika softly on the arm.
"I can't believe you clocked him with the cue stick!" Erika shook her head in disbelief at Misty's response to being touched.
"He was just lucky I only hit him once. I should have kept hitting him." Misty took a deep drag off the cigarette in her hand and grinned.
Erika was smiling and laughing. They seemed to have become fast friends in the past twenty-four hours. But then I wasn't exactly up for the casual dinner anymore. "You couldn't hit him any more with that cue stick because you broke it on his head with the first strike. I thought the bartender was going to die laughing," Erika didn't seem overly concerned at Misty causing a scene.
Art added, "He stopped laughing long enough to kick both of you out and leaving me with the bar tab." I guess that explained the long look on his face. It didn't explain the clothing but then Erika flipped her hand at him mockingly and laughed harder.
"I had to run to catch up." Art looked at me for sympathy. I wasn't feeling too sympathetic. I kept thinking this man had brutally harmed children for whatever sick twisted pleasures made him tick.
Misty doubled over laughing harder, "And he tripped. I think he slid about ten feet before he stopped."
Erika wiped tears from her eyes and said, "Yes, at least that. And he stopped by hitting the bar trash cans."
Harry wasn't finding the story very humorous either. I guess it would leave him with more to cover up when he and that Mitch character disposed of Art in whatever manner they picked. From the way Art was watching everyone he was still unsure of what exactly Harry and Erika did or didn't know. But he thought he was going to be able to talk his way out of whatever they found in the Bureau's files. I knew better than that but I wasn't going to clue Art in since I didn't care if he lived or died. Sure didn't look like he would be joining me in the vampire cadre anytime soon.
Art was now trying to pet the cats and make friends with them after having jammed them both in the bags earlier. They kept hissing softly at him. Misty turned and said, "I don't think they like you."
As if that was a command to El Diablo he swiped his claw across Art's hand ripping into another slice of skin. Art growled and made a fist with his other hand. I growled and was next to him with lightning speed. My fist wrapped around his raised hand and I said, "Touch my cats in anger and I will hurt you."
Harry laughed. I gripped Art's fist tightly in mine and felt the slight popping of his knuckles. Mitch wouldn't get a chance to meet Art at this rate. I couldn't stand to see animals hurt and knowing he had done so much worse to kids caused me to hate him with an unexpected fire.
He looked into my eyes and I tasted a bit of fear. He was afraid of me. That was delicious. Harry stood behind me and said, "No, Gwendolyn. This is not the time. Let him go."
I felt more anger rising up in me and began pushing it at him. I poured my thoughts into my eyes and continued to tighten my grip. He met my eyes and now had found an edge to his own soul of defiance. Seeing that resistance I increased the pressure and I heard and felt a small bone snap inside his left fist, he had raised his left hand to the cats and I knew he was a lefty. That gave me a different image. With that thought a flood of images ran through my head. They weren't mine they were Art's. Sickened by what was leaking from his soul I wanted to kill him right then and there. I didn't care if Harry would be angry.
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