Ragnar swore to himself as he drove towards George’s house. He usually avoided his slave’s home just in case anyone made the exact connection that Anna had made between his victims’ disappearances and his slave. And right now it was an even more risky place to head to because they knew where George lived and Ragnar’s connection to him. But it was the closest place he might find shelter â€“ nearer than any of his bolt holes. He needed somewhere he could get this stake out and figure out his next move before they realised where he was.
Ahead of him a traffic light turned red. Ragnar’s foot twitched towards the accelerator. He gritted his teeth and forced himself to brake instead. The last thing he needed was to attract more attention in this situation so he had to drive carefully.
While he waited he checked the rear view mirror to reassure himself that Anna was still unconsious then prodded cautiously at his wound, groaning at the burning pain that shot through him as he jostled the stake’s broken end. It was definitely worsening and spreading as the rowan slowly poisoned his blood. He had to hurry.
Time didn’t usually crawl at his age but he was sure that he remembered whole centuries passing less slowly than the few moments before the light turned green. He sighed in relief and drove off. Not far now.
Ragnar realised that something wasn’t right the moment that he entered George’s house through the backdoor. There was a faint scent of human blood and it wasn’t George’s â€“ for one thing it was female. He didn’t think his enemies could have got here ahead of him but it paid to be cautious, so he paused in the hallway and listened carefully. From upstairs came a soft snoring â€“ that would be George â€“ and there was a faint sobbing sound coming from up there as well. One too quiet for human ears. What the hell?
He doubted Anna would wake up soon but he secured her to one of the old radiators with the chains still hanging from her wrists just in case. Then he moved silently up the stairs seeking the source of the sobbing sound.
It was coming from the loft and the ladder was up. There was no way he could pull it down without a noise loud enough to wake George so why bother. He went into George’s room and looked down at the sleeping man. There was a knife by his bed â€“ probably in case another hunter found him. Ragnar picked it up and held it to George’s throat.
“What’s in the loft, George?” he asked.
The fool woke with such a start that Ragnar barely avoided slicing his throat open.
“M-master! What are you doing here?” George’s eyes narrowed as took in large blood stain surrounding the broken stake.
“The loft, George, open it. I can smell the blood and hear the sobbing. What have you been up to behind my back.”
Even with his mental powers reduced by daylight and pain Ragnar couldn’t miss the flare of fury and panic George gave off at that order, but he got shakily to his feet and headed onto the landing, grabbing the hooked pole as he went. George pushed the hatch aside with it and then made as if to pull the ladder down with it but then whipped around, trying to strike at Ragnar â€“ obviously hoping that the vampire’s injuries had left him vulnerable.