April 3rd, 2012 | Published in Haventon Chronicles
Anna felt wonderful when she woke the next morning. After she’d gone back to sleep she’d had an untainted dream, one which was all her own. She just wished that she could remember it properly. She knew it had been wild and exhilarating and she’d been running for the sheer joy of it, but she was sure there had been much more of it.
She bounced out of bed and went to make breakfast as a surprise for Jason. He usually cooked all their meals after all. Everything seemed brighter and more colourful than usual and she felt calmer than she had in weeks. It must be some sort of hangover from her dream.
It was while she was cooking the bacon and eggs that the first traces of the headache appeared and by the time she climbed back down the stairs after taking it to him it was raging inside her skull like an inferno. The pain was so bad that she tore the kitchen apart looking for painkillers she’d never needed before.
“What the hell are you doing?” Jason appeared in the doorway with his tray.
“Where do we keep the painkillers, Jason?” she asked plaintively. “My head has suddenly started killing me. We do have some don’t we?”
“You want a painkiller?” he asked incredulously. All the same he pointed upstairs. “Of course we do. The medicine cabinet is in the bathroom whereit’s always been.”
“Thanks,” she said. “I am sorry about the mess. I’ll clean it up in a minute.” She ran upstairs and found a tub of paracetamol. She squinted at the usage instructions and then carried two downstairs. Jason had made her a cup of tea and was tidying up. “Hey! I was going to do that. It’s my mess after all. Thanks.”
“Hey, you made me breakfast,” he said then frowned. “You don’t look so good, kid.”
“I think it’s just a headache.” She swallowed the tablets with a mouthful of tea. “Aren’t you due at work.”
He glanced at the the clock. “Yeah…” He hesitated. “I could phone in if you want me to take you to the doctor.”
“No, no, I am fine really.” She shook her head and then wished that she hadn’t. “I’m going to a friend’s this morning. I’ll be okay.”
“Well, if you say so.” He looked dubious but began to get ready to leave for work. “If you need me just call, hey. You’ve got the office number.”
After he left she sat the kitchen table massaging her temples, the painkillers didn’t seem to be helping. It was hard to think coherently through the pain, but she guessed that it must be her struggle with the vampire which was causing this. May be it was another form of attack? It seemed feasible.
She looked up at the clock and realised it was time to leave for Tanya’s place. It was another warm sunny day but she couldn’t stop shivering.
On her way there her throat became sore and a raging thirst overcame her, so she stopped for some throat sweets and a bottle of mineral water. Unfortunately they were no more helpful than the paracetamol had been and her shivers were worsening in spite of her coat. From the odd looks which she was getting from the t-shirt clad passers-by it was only her who was feeling cold.
She was glad to reach Tanya’s house but more than a little perturbed when she nearly collapsed into the woman’s arms when the door opened. Tanya, however, took it all in her stride. She helped Anna to a comfortable chair and fetched her a glass of her of orange juice and got her a thick blanket to wrap herself in.
* * *
When David arrived at Tanya’s he immediately realised that something was wrong with Anna. It was a scorching day but she was wearing a thick coat and was huddling under a blanket. He could see that she was shivering and her expression was thoroughly miserable. He went over to her while Tanya made him a coffee. Her normally pale skin was livid and her eyes looked glassy.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“I’ve never been ill a day in my life until today,” she replied with not a little bitterness. “And I’m not enjoying the experience.”
“Never?” David was startled by the claim. “Come on you must have had a cold or something.”
“Never,” she confirmed. “Well unless you consider the occasional mild headache during my psychic fights with stalker vamp and those pass quickly enough. I only had the headache when left home and I thought that’s what it was, but somehow I don’t think he could cause the sore throat or the rest.”
“You’re probably right.” David reached out and touched her forehead just as Tanya came in with the coffee. “She is burning up, Tan. I think that she is really sick.”
“It’s probably heatstroke.” Tanya suggested as she refilled Anna’s glass with juice. David got the feeling that she did not really believe that.
“Damn! I am thirsty” Anna gulped down the juice in one go and jerked her head back. She was staring at a point near the center of the room. David followed her gaze but saw nothing there. “Mummy?” she asked in a little girl’s voice and bgan to get up. She looked almost as if she was sleepwalking.
“Anna,” he said quietly. “There’s no one there.”
She paused and looked at him. Her eyes were even more glazed than before. “Wha-” She collapsed before she could finish whatever she had been about to say. David caught her and looked at Tanya in alarm.
“I think we’d better take her to the hospital,” he said.
“There’s no need.” Tanya sounded certain. “I’ll look after her.”
“Well at least call a doctor,” he begged. “I don’t like the look of her at all.” He paused as Anna began to mumble incoherently. “Or the sound of her for that matter. She’s delirious.”
“Yes, I know,” Tanya replied calmly. “But really there’s no need.”
“How can you say that?” he asked. “What if you’re wrong.”
“I’m not.” She looked at him and sighed. “You’re going to insist on an explanation, aren’t you?” When he nodded she sighed again. “Okay, help me get her upstairs and I’ll explain.”
He might have taken longer to consider but Anna was quite heavy. “Okay, but if I am not satisfied I am calling the ambulance myself.”
“Fair enough. I think you will be, but I don’t know if you’ll like what you hear,” she said as they helped Anna upstairs and tucked her into the bed in the spare bedroom.
“What if she starts sleepwalking again?” David asked.
“She won’t.” Tanya stroked the girl’s forehead. “Let’s go downstairs and talk.”
She insisted on getting him another coffee before they sat down. “You remember the conversation we had where I said that it was just as possible that there were werewolves among the vampire hunters?”
“Yes.” He gave her a puzzled look. “But what’s that got to do with Anna being ill?”
“She’s not ill, Dave, at least not exactly. All werewolves get these symptoms before they shift for the first time.”