Home Again Home Again
Harry and I walked slowly back to my place, lost in our thoughts. Thankfully nobody was out walking their dog or something, because I was in a mood and would have not hesitated to add to my already messy clothes. As we neared my home I sniffed the air. The night bore our scents nearly masking the usual nighttime aromas. I detected the star jasmine and the flowers dying in the nearby garden. After a pause and a deep breath I said, "Nothing out of the ordinary, except us."
Harry paused a bit longer and pulled out a new toy. I looked at his Blackberry and said, "You've gone high tech, my dear. What other James Bond stuff do you have?"
He just flashed me a grin.
A few elaborate key strokes and he looked up at me saying, "You're right, only us here now. I see that you had a visitor while we were busy, but not vampiric, seems to be a human messenger." He clicked a few more buttons with his fingertip and put his plaything back away. I resisted asking any questions or making any comments yet something I was thinking leaked through and he gave me a sheepish look.
"I need to use it to keep in touch with my office." He was sounding quite defensive.
Mentally thinking, crack-berry, I simply smiled and didn't bother to mock him. It was funny how he tried to pretend it was more important than his vampiric talents. He and I both have used the various communication methods of the times but deep down we knew that what we came loaded with was far more useful than any human-made devices. I turned to look up at my house, assessing its condition. The two-story structure was not much by the comparison to other homes I had owned, but it was pretty safe for me and I didn't need flash to attract any more notice. Vampires did much better traveling under the radar, a lesson painfully learned by too many. Kenyon had begun to push the boundaries of vampire discretion and that was a problem.
Once on my porch I didn't bother to tell Harry he was correct. But then I could smell the trace of another human once I got closer to my front door. The package left propped against the door looked fairly innocent. It was a large padded manila envelope; it didn't smell like it contained any explosives or poisons. Harry nodded to me and asked, "You want me to check it out for you?"
I bit back a smile. Ever the paranoid, Harry was kind to offer his skills. But I was not without my own set of talents, and this read as just a teasing gift from whoever took Greg out of this world. Shaking my head at my feelings I said, "Let's go inside and see what treat our new friend has given us."
Harry watched with an ill-disguised smirk as I keyed the codes into my security system. I knew he probably had some elaborate and exotic system that made mine look pathetic and useless but it was good enough to deter the garden-variety thieves from waking me. I was not nice when awakened before my idea of morning.
"Cassandra, anyone with a smattering of skills would crack that in a minute." He could not resist the jab, adding, "Or less."
"Whatever," I had other back-ups that I didn't bother to share with Harry. He probably knew all about my system and everything else. I knew he was not beyond snooping when he thought it was something he needed to know. I have never sensed that he had physically visited my house, but didn't put it past him to have spied from afar more than once. I smiled at him and laughed, "Besides, you wouldn't let anyone harm me now, would you?"
He met my gaze and gently smiled, "Forever bound, my Cassandra, I told you that long ago." For a minute I felt something flutter.
The package between us reminded me there were others out there equally interested in me and mine. With a sigh I walked to the dining room table. Rarely was the table used to serve anything, so it quite naturally became the dumping ground for the rest of my life. Pushing aside the stacks of books, random paperwork and one of my laptops, I regarded the gift. My full name was lettered on with a careful hand, including my address. No return address, not a surprise, but the shape looked to be a video inside. Taking a soft breath of air I flipped the envelope over and peeled open the clasp.
Tilting it, I was not surprised to see the video tape fall out. A small folded piece of quality stationery accompanied the tape; my name again was lettered by the same hand as the outside envelope. I opened it to read, "Yours to enjoy and savor, I will be in touch." No initials or name or anything. I rubbed the paper automatically. Well whoever my newfound admirer was had not handled it. The human who had written my name had no feeling of anything more than a simple servant doing a master's bidding. Harry put his hand out silently and I gave him the note. I could see by his frown of annoyance he had come to the same conclusion as me.
"Okay, so we look at this here or go to one of your secret labs?" I somewhat glibly asked.
Harry seemed to really give that some thought before saying, "We will be fine here. You do still have a video player?"
I laughed and led him out of the dining room into the den. Casually I went to a large entertainment center in the corner and waved a hand, "Harry, you probably know the day I purchased each and every piece of equipment here." He reluctantly nodded and went over and began to push buttons. I walked to the end table next to the couch and found the remote.
"Here, you can use the buttons. I know how much the male of any species needs to push buttons." Harry took my kidding in stride, and soon we had the television on and the tape began to play.
There had been nothing on the outside of the tape to let me have any clue what I would see once we hit play. I had a feeling it was not going to be pretty, but I had underestimated how graphic and raw it turned out to be.
There was no introduction, no snappy titles or anything to let me know what the video was about. The camera was handheld and started out with jerky motions of someone walking holding it by their side. Not a word was spoken by the camera operator as I began to discern the shapes and what I was viewing.
Greg and Elisa were quite a way ahead of the camera, talking, unaware they were being filmed. Both were tipsy on blood and silly as only over-fed vampires can become. Their stalker got a bit closer and I could hear my cousin's words clearly, "Did you see that bitch Cassandra try to threaten me!"
Elisa snarled, "Yes, who the hell does she think she is? I mean Kenyon just let her walk in and treat you -- of all vampires -- like some lackey. Doesn't she know how much power you have?" Here they slowed down to kiss. Ugh, that was less than pretty to me. Fang-faces have to be cautious when swapping spit and from the blood flowing freely they were less than careful in their tongue tangling. The follower had moved off to the side of a building. I recognized the brickwork as something outside Kenyon's club.
Half heartedly, Elisa pushed Greg off her saying, "We need to get back to my house."
Greg, ever the fool, pushed back into her face and slathered her with nips and kisses. Even though I had a good idea where this was all going to end, my cousin's behavior disgusted me. He was such an idiot.
He looked down at Elisa and said, "That's right. Cassandra doesn't know who I am now. I was too kind last time I had her, and should have disposed of her personally instead of relying on the Church. I won't be so kindhearted next time we meet. Her time on this earth is at an end, that I can promise you."
The camera's microphone picked up the sounds of an approaching siren. They froze and looked around slowly. Their eyes rolled past the cameraman and Elisa said, "I know, baby, you will take care of her. But we need to get off the street. Kenyon told me I can't take much daylight yet and I don't want to sleep anywhere but in my own bed."
Greg grinned, fangs still out, "How about some time in my van first? Let me show you how nice my bed is." He tugged Elisa towards the van in question. The film jumped up and down as the person following ran to catch up.
A voice closer called out to them, and I could tell the camera had to be hidden in a large bag or purse. The voice was right above the video of my cousin and Elisa turning to the shout.
"Hello," the female voice was light and somewhat hesitant. I would have slowed too at that sound. Her voice had just the right amount of fear and vulnerability in the tones. Greg, not one to skip a free meal, slowed and pulled Elisa to a halt. Elisa, a bit smarter, looked disgusted by the female facing them.
"What do you want?" territorial Elisa snapped, while Greg was smiling without fangs showing. He was thrilled by whatever morsel stood in front of them both now.
Again, the female played it right. "I am sorry to bother you and your husband, miss, but I can't seem to find my date. I mean, he probably just went to get the car but I looked in the lot and it wasn't there." The husband line drew a benevolent smile from Elisa; she liked being recognized as partnered with Greg and the voice was extremely soft. They both moved closer to catch her words.
She seemed to stumble over her own feet in her haste to be saved by the two vampires. Her camera panned up briefly to show the predator look they both gave her when she faltered. Then the camera's eye went further down to show me, the viewer, what was on both inside wrists of the female. Harry and I both gasped as her weapons were shown. Before either of us even gave words to what we thought, we saw they were flying from the arm sheaths outward into both Greg and Elisa's throats.
I grabbed the remote and hit pause.
"Harry, those are your weapons. I was there when we structured them. You and I are the only ones with them!" The wrist sheaths had a flex-designed release, not unusual in weaponry. What was unusual was the barbed silver crosses loaded with holy water and blood. A bind and tie for some vampires -- not all -- but from what I knew about Greg, he would definitely be out for the count. Since Elisa was Greg's vampire kin she would be weakened to the same degree as him.
Slowly Harry looked at me and said, "Mine were stolen six months ago." That confession cost him a lot. It meant someone knew what Harry and I were capable of doing. I froze and then bolted off the couch and ran to the bookshelf.
I pulled open the leather bound book of complete works of William Shakespeare and flipped off the wedge that covered the compartment where I kept my set of sheaths. I turned to show Harry what was inside.
The same hand that had written my video note had taken the time to put one inside the book. The paper read, "Thanks, these will be put to good use." Mine were missing also.