Harry kept walking with me deeper into the night. The light from the street lamp by the diner was a long forgotten memory. With the ambient glow from the moon etching the scenery into edgy shades of gray and black it was a perfect evening to me. Had this been a few decades ago Harry and I would have found the local lover's lane -- there always is one -- and supped for hours on tender young things before creating a bloody crime scene to shock the locals. Harry had been too busy with his politics, both vampiric and human, to come out and play much with me lately. I hadn't realized how much I had missed him until I saw him.
"Cassandra, you can't just begin killing humans without being noticed," Harry finally got to the meat of what was worrying him.
"Sure I can. They slaughter themselves constantly with little regard to their own laws, and most, having no skill at murdering, are usually caught. I know how to avoid detection if I want. Or not." Here I grinned with my fangs fully exposed. Harry caught me firmly and ran a thumb across my teeth. Beads of blood pooled from the punctures he self-inflicted. My eyes met his as I watched him lick off his own thumb. He had fed fully before seeing me. That was unusual.
I waited for him to tell me what was wrong. Another man playing the waiting game with me, it would have been funny if I had a sense of humor about such things. Which I really didn't. I was bored with such trivial human dynamics. That Harry was trying it on me further illustrated how distant we had become to each other. He should have known better. Harry let me go and we walked. Time stretched out and Harry expelled a forced sigh.
"Sorry, Cassandra, I am trying to find out how best to tell you this."
"That you killed Greg and Elisa? I figured that out the second I saw you." I replied softly. He again sighed loudly, trying to get me to look at him. I had yet to meet his eyes since he thumbed my fangs. A personal touch like that in the past would have went on to be a lovely killing spree and more. That was just a reflex on his part, I thought, from the way he held himself apart from me.
Harry had stopped abruptly on the trail we had been traveling, but it took me a moment or two before I noticed he was not still pacing me. I reluctantly turned back to see him sitting on a large rock. His face was downcast and I approached him slowly. There was something more I had missed.
A foot from the rock he looked up and met my eyes. There was definitely something else. Vampires are arrogant, god-like creatures. We rarely give a damn about anyone or anything. And it took me a minute to identify the look on his face. He was afraid to tell me. Fear was never a vampire emotion. We pretended emotions, all the time, but this was not fakery. Harry was afraid.
I stopped in front of him. He lifted his eyes up and said, "I didn't kill Greg or Elisa."
Shaking my head, I waited. That statement made no sense. Kenyon had used both of us in the past to clean up his little mistakes. That someone other than us would kill one of Kenyon's vampires was not good. It sunk in that I had been wrong; Harry was not here to share the glory in my cousin's death but to give me a warning.
"Executioners?" I whispered, since the wind did carry sounds and the vampiric folks had good hearing to start. Vampire executions were a sign your little group had overstepped their boundaries.
"I don't know yet." Not good, Harry knew everything. And if he didn't know something, he found out with one of his spies. He had set up an empire back with old J. Edgar Hoover and the entire FBI was pretty much one of Harry's better ideas. He helped Hoover find out where the bodies were buried and in some cases planted the bodies to be found. The history of those two had never been written, but the little I knew fascinated me even though I usually didn't care much for the past.
Another little link was made in my mind. "Kirk Grady is one of your toys?"
It made sense that Homeland Security folks would be part of Harry's cadre of informants and spies. Harry nodded.
"But you are willing to let me take him out?" That was interesting. I still was wondering who Harry had fed on before finding me. That bothered me that he didn't trust himself enough around me to be hungry. We always brought out the darker side of each other and he didn't want the temptation.
"He is not following my orders." Harry acknowledged.
"God forbid! He is thinking outside the box? Is that even allowed in the government?"
He smiled slightly, acknowledging my dig. He did like the mindless bimbos and himbos cookie-cut from government cloth and molded by his standards.
"Cassandra, there is more going on here than a simple civil servant researching a mysterious death. Greg was killed for show. Just enough left around to push the buttons on the humans, and not enough for me to follow the trail."
"You went to the river to help with the scene?" I was stunned. Water was not a favorite for us vampire sorts. Harry normally left the hard work to the working stiffs, and rarely ventured forth during murder investigations. The temptation to play with our food was too ingrained. That explained his being fully fed currently but I still didn't know what he expected me to do.
Harry had started back on the trail while we were talking. I suddenly sniffed the air and said, "You are taking me to the scene aren't you?"
He ducked his head and nodded.
"I need you to look for him. Your blood is closer. I know he is dead, but I'm hoping you will be able to pick up someone else's scent. Kenyon suggested I find you before the trail is dead."
I could see the logic in it, but was sad that Harry didn't look me up just to say hi. It etched deeper the lines between us. I began thinking he had outgrown me. Sadly it happened with vampires every generation or so. Imagine, hearing the same stories time and time again? We tended to bore each other after a while. I'd thought Harry and I were different. Now it was my turn to grow quiet.
Harry caught my thoughts and said, "No, Cassandra, I would have looked you up. I just got in town yesterday. Work has made my traveling a bit difficult."
At that my spirits lifted and I smiled.
We rounded the path and I could see the riverbank in the distance. I stopped, not wanting to go any further. And to my dismay I could sense humans between us and the crime scene. I wasn't sure if it was good until I sniffed the air and said, "They have been at the van and know something."
Harry smiled, revealing his teeth; he understood instantly what I meant. Even though he was full, he wasn't averse to a little dessert. The two were about fifty yards from us. They were whispering and watching the police still processing the crime scene. Their backs were to us. I smiled and my fangs had dropped fully and I was ready to play.
Harry fell back and let me do my bit. Raking my hands through my hair I messed it up like I had been attacked. I pulled my shirt ripping it a little. I stooped and grabbed some soil, smudged my face and shirt. Then I wandered up to the two kids weakly saying, "Hello?"
They spun around to see me. I was shaking, as if in fear. Harry was out of sight and waiting for my verbal cue. The two boys were in their mid-twenties. They were smoking some dope and trying to rally their bravado when I stumbled up to them.
"Dude, you okay?" The smaller of the two held up his hand as if to ward me off. Maybe he was smarter than he appeared but I was doubtful.
My fangs were hidden by my lips and I mumbled, "No, someone attacked me." I fell to my knees at the feet of the guys.
The quieter one reached over and plucked the joint from his buddy's grasp. He looked at me and said, "Yeah, so. Like you think you are the first one attacked?" This one had the brains for the two of them. He was also a predator. I could tell by his standing over me and general tone of voice.
I licked my lips softly and said, "What?" I chanced a glance up and saw that he was aroused by my subservient pose. His buddy was still puzzled, but accepted the joint back once the quieter one finished his toke.
He nodded his head at his friend and smirked. That smirk nearly made me lose track of my plan. I needed information first; I could feast after. A shiver ran along my skin and that made a tremor run along the quiet one. Definitely he was going to be my main course.
The smaller guy was squinting at me and said in a voice he thought was low, "Think she was part of that down there?" His head jerked towards the river and the cops.
"Art, shut the fuck up. How would I know?" His tone was nasty, but I could hear the desire laced within the words. He wanted me. Good. I wanted him. Somehow I think we had different ideas of how our 'date' would go.
"Mac, come on," Art whined. He didn't have a clue what was in Mac's head. I did. I was counting on it to make my meal tastier.
I softly said, "What do you mean? Part of what?" I looked at Art and put a bit of glamour in my voice. He replied quickly while sucking on his joint, "Dude, there is a van splattered totally with blood and bits of people down there. If you like, came from there, there are like, cops looking for you!"
"Art, shut the fuck up already. Can't you see she isn't covered in blood?" That sounded like a plan to me. I stood up and said, "Harry, dinner time."
Harry was behind Art in a flash.
I was now face first with Mac. He was quick on the uptake and tried to run. My fingers laced through his hair and I yanked him to me in a second.
Mac was very quiet as I turned him towards me. Art was no longer in the scene, as Harry had pulled him off the path and was busy draining him dry, and from the muffled sounds, Art was not going gently into that night. Mac looked at my hand still entwined in his hair and I felt him still hard against my stomach. Even the violence with which I had pulled him to me didn't cause him any fear. He thought he had the upper hand. He leered down at me and said, "You want me?"
I nodded, keeping my fangs hidden while he boldly stepped closer to me pressing the length of him against me. He really thought he would be able to take me. I knew they had not seen anything other than gore and death at the van, and therefore there was no reason to keep them around. Art was no longer with us from the contented sounds Harry was making. For not being hungry he certainly made the most of his meal. My turn.
Mac said, "I want you, your friend won't care if I take you?" He seemed to be missing the point. But then I had to remember he wasn't thinking clearly, given the loss of blood his brain must have been experiencing with his throbbing against my body. His mistake, my fun.
Revealing my fangs, I said sweetly, "No, he won't mind. Ladies first." And I yanked his head to my level and twisted. His jugular was exposed and I fanged in deeply. I have to admit I was amazed that even while I drained him, he was still quiet. His desire for me made my meal all that more delicious.