Charlotte figured that the police had to be on their way given how much screaming and moaning had been coming from the house for the past ten minutes. After all, Hank's high-pitched cries grated on her nerves and she knew why he'd been screaming. It couldn't have felt good to see an arm pretty much torn off -- especially one that had been so recently attached. The nearby neighbors probably correctly interpreted the sounds as fatal without actually witnessing all of the blood. And there was enough of that spattered around the room to satisfy any teenager's monster gore-fest movie weekend. Unlike the bad b-movies watched in the dark with junk food and oversized buckets of soda this blood wasn't dyed Karo syrup dripped around for effect and chills but definitely human blood and not to mention Jim's vampiric blood. Vampiric blood flowed and death spilled into the air. The final dance entwined and death took prisoners.
Tim's whole body shook and he desperately tried to move Kegs' meaty fist from covering his mouth. His hands flailed without finding purchase, as Kegs, big as he was, simply was rock solid muscle. Eddie nodded to Kegs and Kegs reluctantly dropped his hold. It wasn't like Tim was going anywhere. Unsupported by Kegs' hand, Tim swayed and his mouth trembled.
He spoke softly nearly inaudibly and he sounded very weak. They all decided to ignore the obvious dinner bell sound of his voice. That wasn't easy but given the time limits it was their best choice.
"What's 'sound proof'?" Charlotte asked him directly, catching his eyes. She didn't want him to freak out again. Humans got locked into fear cycles and it was hard to drag them back once the hysterics started. Seeing what Tim just had seen was more than most humans could handle, and she wasn't sure Tim was up to the challenge. His ragged breathing filled the room of eerily silent vampires. Well, that and the sound of blood dripping from Jim's severed neck. Charlotte didn't envy the human who'd have to clean up that mess.
"Whole room. Windows too. Can't let outsiders hear." Tim spit out with fears riding his reluctant confession. Given his aunt's online business they immediately got the picture. Eddie and Charlotte had seen the video, too.
Charlotte and Eddie began chuckling. Soon they were joined by Kegs. Toby was working on calming down. He carefully wiped his blades on a clean patch of bedding with a casual disregard for Maddie's linens. Once free of any obvious blood he sheathed them and worked on swabbing off the blood from Hank's demise on his face and hands. The bedding was dark green and quickly absorbed the blood. His own dark colored clothing thankfully kept most of the obvious stains to a minimum, but Toby still needed to get back to the club and finish cleaning up. The coppery scent of blood wasn't easily mistaken for much else. And he had a definite aroma. Given that Luminol wasn't as forgiving as a good mind swipe -- still, there was no need to attract attention from cops. Driving in traffic with obvious dried blood on your face and clothing one tended to get some notice. They all had been down that path more than once, if the truth were told.
"Well, that makes sense considering the online streaming live videos of Aunt Maddie's playroom." Charlotte admitted, clueing Tim in they'd seen the footage. Tim wasn't totally stupid -- he'd pretty much had to have known they'd seen the room because of Toby's deliberate smashing all the cameras. His eyes were huge as he absorbed the fact his aunt had lied about the site's protection. He kept his opinions to himself, completely aware that he was the only human left in the room. It didn't matter since Tim hadn't been shielding his thoughts at all. His terror was too deep and he had no self-preservation instincts.
"Yet we can't count on Kenyon entertaining Maddie indefinitely," she added.
She nearly was ready to go face Kenyon. With Jim dead, Kenyon didn't have many vampires stronger than her to left to fight. If there even was a fight. Kenyon was known to fiercely negotiate when he couldn't win. She'd seen him do that a few times, and since the odds were stacking up more and more in their favor she knew Kenyon had some problems ahead of him. Kenyon must have fed on more than his share of weasels in his lifetime. He certainly did a good job of resembling one. She felt her fangs shove their way towards her lips and refrained from smiling. Tim was already quivering like a baby rabbit and seeing her fangs wouldn't help steady his nerves.
"Then what say we just leave the corpses here for dear old Maddie to deal with at her leisure?" Charlotte grinned with her fangs now under control. The idea of the woman coming home to this mess definitely amused her. But the idea of Kenyon tucking tail and running was even more appealing.
Kegs had custody of the terrified bartender. Charlotte sincerely doubted that Tim would ever look at a Bloody Mary the same. Once humans had been to a good vampiric slaying they tended to get a bit more squeamish. It wasn't like a movie. There were the primeval smells and the primitive emotions that pulled more than expected. With the vampires feeding off the fears from Tim, they also gave him a little extra taste of the hunt and the sense of being hunted. Since Tim had been planning to be a vampire, he'd thought the little club game-playing with Kenyon was preparation for the real deal. From the full body tremors Charlotte would guess that wasn't the case. But then Kenyon wasn't known for overly training his vampire minions much less the ones in-waiting like Tim. Humans were ranked last in any vampire family. They were a step above a pet and one of the small caged varieties at that.
Tim moaned softly. His face was a work of trauma and drama that pulled at all of the vampires. Four old vampires were intimidating enough but to have them all fang-ready was making Tim even more scared. He kept hitching the levels up and Charlotte felt her fangs brush again at the insides of her mouth. Not good. She was already pretty full and Tim's human prey-like behavior was deliciously calling to her.
"Let's get the hell out of here!" Charlotte snapped and spun out of Eddie's arms. She knew motion was the answer. No need to stay and find out how good the emergency response time was in a wealthy upscale suburb. Given the price of real estate she knew it was much quicker than in the city.
"Toby, do you need to change clothing?" She thought to ask before she hit the top step of the staircase.
A deep laughter was the response.
"I doubt anything Tim has would fit me." They all glanced at the mammoth muscular vampire and had to agree. His dark clothing was forgiving and without inhaling deeply nobody would know that he was wearing a blood soaked shirt. Well, nobody but other vampires. The blood soaked clothing was pretty much self-explanatory to vampires and also somewhat of a turn on.
Tim stammered, "How will my aunt explain two dead bodies?"
"Not our problem. Would you rather we torched the house?" Kegs asked softly with promise in his voice. Kegs had a rather strong pyromaniac bend. Many spots of arson flared up around the city when Kegs was bored. Vampires got bored rather easily. After all they had nothing but time on their hands.
"No, this is fine." The tremor was more pronounced and it was like Tim was strumming inside without any way of stopping. His heart was racing even faster, more like a baby bunny's than he realized. Charlotte nearly clued him in but didn't waste her breath. He really should have known better.
Silently they all went to the entry hall to discuss strategy before hitting the road.
Charlotte pointed out, "I came with Hank. I think it would be best if I left his car at the curb."
"Want me to go wipe down the prints?" Toby asked in his deep baritone.
"Nah, I automatically swiped the wheel, stick shift and door before I left." Charlotte pulled the keys out of her pocket and tossed them to Toby. "We probably should leave these here."
Laughing he wiped them on his blood wet shirt and thundered back upstairs to put them in Hank's pocket. Those loose ends were neatly tied up. They'd let Aunt Maddie deal with Jim's remains. Vampires didn't always turn to dust contrary to urban myth and Hollywood movies. Jim wasn't old enough nor strong enough, but his corpse would definitely leave a mystery -- which would trace back to Kenyon hopefully.
"Do we have to head out and blur some memories?" Eddie inquired softly.
"How about you sip the closest nosy neighbor and plant a few stray seeds?" Charlotte suggested, knowing Eddie was getting edgy and a pint or two of something strange would be fun for him. He grinned, showing his fangs, acknowledging the unspoken plan. He knew she was telling him to have fun and confuse the scene. It was something they both did well and had done together for years. Even with the time that had passed they naturally fell into their old familiar patterns. Charlotte smiled.
"I'll do that and meet you at my place in an hour or so?" Eddie was eager to fang into the country club set in the proximity. Toby landed next to them with a quiet firmness. He'd planted the keys on Hank's corpse.
"Tim will come with me," Eddie decided. "He will make sure we get into the right places and erase what needs to be erased."
"I'll take you back, Charlotte." Toby offered.
Tim nodded and said, "We can take my truck. It's in the garage." No shock there because it was that sort of neighborhood. It would also add into the confusion Eddie could spin. The garage was a good way to conceal and hide the true facts and Eddie's fang work would finish creating a myth that would be believable to the police once they arrived. Which would be any minute now if Charlotte's instincts were on target. She didn't have a clue anymore.
"We good to go?" Eddie asked. It was revealed that Kegs had followed Toby on his bike since he wasn't in a very good mood. He was still battling his conflicting feelings about Legs. They all knew to give him his space. Charlotte wouldn't be surprised if something went up in smoke before morning.
Everyone nodded in agreement. Now that a plan was in place, they all took no time to spread out and begin to normalize an already screwed up situation. The adrenaline was a tasty addition to the mix.
Toby was driving a sleek black BMW. Unlike the now dead Hank's vehicle, the car was new. Shiny with all the bells and whistles, Charlotte could see the attraction to the auto. It was exotic and phallic as only the Bavarians built them. Eddie had bought the car in Arizona so the tinted windows were only somewhat illegal. The Arizona license plate was asking to be keyed in the beach communities, but somehow Charlotte didn't figure Eddie hit the beach much.
Graciously Toby helped her into the passenger side. Charlotte let him and wondered what was next. She wasn't happy not driving but Toby was a good driver and soon they were speeding along the half-empty freeways south. Traffic always amazed Charlotte. It was like nobody could wait an hour for the roads to clear but were forced to trap themselves like rodents in a maze nightly in narrow lanes. And much like such rats they fed on each other and cannibalized the weak.
As they flew down the freeways towards Eddie's Charlotte noticed cars inexplicably slowing down or moving over a lane when they pulled up behind them. She probed one of the commuters and began to laugh. Toby arched an eyebrow and waited for her explanation.
"They think we're cops!" She bit out while still laughing.
Toby chuckled and said, "Why?" It wasn't like the cops didn't use BMW vehicles; a few years back all the motorcycle cops rode BMW cycles. But it wasn't the fleet car for either state or highway patrol cars by a long shot.
"It's how we're moving in traffic. The way you slice through the cars like they are minnows and you are big old hungry shark looking for something tastier. Every time you roll past them they are just happy it's not them you're targeting. The sight of your car coming up behind them makes them think it is a cop car or something worse. Can't you feel the waves of fear from them?" Charlotte was still giggling.
"Yes, but I always figured it was because I am a big black man driving an expensive car with tinted windows. They think I'm a drug dealer with a gun ready to shoot them for cutting me off." He flashed her a grin. She laughed. She'd forgotten how xenophobic humans were. Vampires were vampires. Period. It didn't matter what race they were before as humans once they became vampires it was an entirely different playing field.