April 17th, 2012 | Published in Haventon Chronicles
Anna was vaguely aware of being tucked up in a bed but could make no sense of what David and Tanya were saying to each other. She just wished they’d be quiet and sighed with relief when they left the room and went downstairs.
Her mother was still there, though, standing at the foot of the bed. Even through the headache she knew that was wrong somehow, but she couldn’t remember why. She just stood there regarding her with the smile Anna remembered so well.
She tried to speak but her throat was so sore that only cracking and croaking came out. Her mother shook her head and raised a finger to her lips before reaching out her hand and fading like mist in the sunlight.
Anna looked around, confused tears in her eyes, trying to see where she had gone. No one was there.
Great, now I’m seeing things, she realised as her head cleared for a moment. What the hell is going on? She was going to sit up when the headache returned in full force, sweeping rational thought away before it.
After that she began to see all sorts of strange and scary things. Things that part of her knew could not be there. She tried to ignore them, but when the ceiling seemed to drop rapidly towards the bed she began to scream in spite of her throat and even though she knew that it must be an hallucination. Within moments Tanya and David were both there.
“You should try and get some sleep.” Tanya said softly as she stroked her forehead. Anna was relieved to find that she could understand English now. “You’ll feel better for it.”
“Thirsty!” Anna managed to croak. She wondered how come she had been able to scream but not talk. Well at least the ceiling was back in place, even if it was still spinning.
“Hold on,” Tanya said. “David go and get the fruit juice pitcher from the fridge and bring a glass and straw.”
Anna heard him run down the stairs.
“I’ll be right back.” Tanya left the room herself and returned just a moment later with a cool cloth with which she dabbed Anna’s forehead. It did seem to help a little.
Then when David returned with the juice a straw was held to her lips, and after a few mouthfuls her throat eased off a little. She sank back down to the pillows and Tanya laid the cool cloth on her forehead. She managed to croak out her thanks as she closed her eyes. And in spite of the headache she was able to fall in to a fitful doze.
* * *
The hot weather had finally broken and David was sitting by Anna’s bed listening to the thunder when his mobile phone rang.
“Hi, Dave,” Sarah said when he answered. “I’ve been invited to a party by a friend of Michael’s tonight. The invite is plus one and I’m not dating at the moment so I wondered if you’d like to come?”
David stared at the phone for a moment as an alarm went off in his head. Why was Sarah suddenly inviting him to a party when they had barely spoken for two years? Something wasn’t right here, and yet he felt like he should say yes. “Well I’d like to,” he said cautiously. “Where is it?”
When she gave him the address he nearly dropped the phone. Tanya who has just re-entered the room, looked at his expression quizzically. He quickly held a finger to his lips and she nodded, standing there quietly. “I’ll call you back when I know if I can make it.” He hung up and looked over at Tanya. “Sarah has invited me to a party.”
“And an invitation to a party makes you look like you have seen a ghost why?” she asked.
David glanced at Anna to check that she was still asleep and then said quietly, “It’s at Leisa’s house.”
“Ah!” Enlightenment dawned on Tanya’s face. “I see. How interesting.”
“She must know that Sal is my sister right? Is this some sort of threat?”
“No,” Tanya said meditaively. “I don’t think it’s meant as a threat. Even if she does mean you harm, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t, she doesn’t seem stupid. Threatening Sal would just set you more firmly against her. I suspect she wants to talk to you in a non-confrontational situation where she isn’t saving your life.”
“Hmm.” David thought about this. “So she’s offering a flag of truce?”
“Roughly, yes. I really think that you should go,” she replied. “She seemed okay last night and werewolves are pretty good judges of character. She smelled worried about you. You’re lucky you didn’t attack an evil elder. That’s how we lose most vampire hunters.”
“To be honest, Tan, I agree with you about going, but I’m still scared,” He cringed to have to admit that.
“Perfectly natural response.” Tanya flipped her hair and grinned at him. “Are you scared of me?”
“Heavens, no! Of course not! I know you.” He paused. “What’s it like?”
“Being a werewolf? It’s exciting but hard to explain. Could you explain what it is like being a human?”
David considered that and then shook his head. “I see what you mean. I don’t suppose I could explain it to someone who didn’t know.”
“Exactly,” she said. “So are you going to this party?” she asked.
He considered the question for a moment then sighed. “I have to. If I don’t I will kick myself forever. I just hope that I won’t regret going.” He dialled Sarah’s number and told her that he would be glad to come.
“Great! I’ll tell Leisa then.” She paused. “Oh I forgot to mention that it’s a costume party. Can you cope with that?”
“Of course, I’m sure that I will be able to come up with something.” he could not help laughing at the thought in spite of himself. “So what will you be wearing?”
“Wait and see.” She gave an impish giggle. “Anyway I’ve got to go. The website is calling me to tweak it. I’ll see you this evening. We’ll pick you up about 7pm. I think that you’ll like my costume.” she rang off.
David put his phone away and the grimaced. “Apparently it is a costume party,” he told Tanya.
“A what?” she laughed lightly. “Oh my! What on Earth will you go as?”
“I don’t know. I’m thinking about it. It needs to be something tactful and unlikely to cause trouble.”
“That should be easy enough – just don’t dress as Van Helsing,” she paused and smirked. mischievously.
“Tan,” he groaned. “You really aren’t helping.” He paused and considered something she had said. “But a solo human is never going to be a match for an elder vampire who wants to kill them are they?”
She shook her head. “Not with any amount of training. One of the things I want to do is put together a group of vampire hunters who are trained to work together to deal with the old ones. But I want to gain enough leverage to make sure all the hunters in it are reasonable.”
“It seems to me that you and Meredith want to totally reform the Order,” he said. “Not that it’s a bad idea from what you have told me.”
“Actually we do,” she said. “It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The Order’s founders were well aware that not all supernaturals were evil. We were supposed to investigate and destroy those that were. Things changed about three hundred years after the founding for some reason. Only Liam’s branch retained its purpose.”
“A rag tag bunch of ghost, demon and fairy hunters,” David murmured remembering what Tanya had said the night before.
“Our smallest and least supported group. Which considering they deal with anything that isn’t a vampire or a werewolf leaves them stretched pretty thin. Liam tends to be pretty grumpy about it.”
“I think that I would be as well. Is he on your side?”
“I think so. He certainly thinks the other two branches have lost their way but he’s cautious about speaking out. Once I’ve spoken to Merry I might get him alone and find out where he stands.” She looked at her watch. “If you’re going to find a costume you’d better get going.”