Chapter Five Part Two
Anna slammed plates around in the sink as she washed up that night. She’d intended to go after her confirmed target that afternoon, but she’d been so jumpy that she’d decided – reluctantly – that it was too risky. She couldn’t afford for anything to go wrong this time, so she needed to work out her stress some other way. The clattering was so loud it drew her brother Jason’s attention from the lounge, and he came into the kitchen.
“Let me do that,” he said. “before you break something.”
“It’s my turn,” she said.
“Yes, but we can’t afford new plates. You can do it one of my days when you aren’t so moody.”
Anna wanted to yell at him to go away, but she managed to bite her tongue and take a calming breath. “Thanks.” She grabbed her bag and jacket. “I’m going for a walk, it might clear my head.”
“Good idea, don’t be too late.”
She slammed the door behind her so hard it made the glass rattle, stomped down the path, and headed towards the town centre. With any luck some idiot would accost her and she could punch them. That would make her feel better, and she knew just where to go to find such a deserving target for her ire.
At the end of the road, she stopped because she felt an uncomfortable prickling between her shoulder blades, like someone was watching her. She scowled and looked around thoughtfully, glaring into the shadows but saw nothing. She frowned for a bit and then rubbed at her neck and carried on walking.
* * *
Once she moved off, Ragnar emerged from behind the hedge and stared after in surprise. How on Earth had she sensed him? She’d no psychic ability to speak of. He would have noticed that when he was in her mind, so it should have been impossible. It made him nervous, but it also made the beautiful hunter that much more intriguing. He watched as she headed towards the heart of Haventon and then followed her at a cautious distance, making sure to stay out of view. This development was unexpected; so, more than ever, he needed to observe her carefully, while he decided how to proceed.
He watched as she turned and headed down towards the canal towpath. It wasn’t quite dark yet, but it was definitely twilight, and the overgrown and dilapidated area around the canal was something of a no go zone for young women, even during the day, since there’d been a series of attacks. What was she doing?
* * *
Anna barely kept a shark-like smile off her face when the three drunk young men appeared from the shadows of one of the bridges and surrounded her. She doubted the trio were the ones responsible for the dangerous reputation of the area. They were far too pathetic looking for that, but they’d do.
“Hey, beautiful!” The obvious leader of the trio said while his sycophants leered at her. “Fancy a drink?” He shoved a bottle of vodka towards her.
Anna yawned in his face. “Sorry, I don’t drink with ugly people.” He actually wasn’t bad looking but she wanted to get him mad.
“Ooh! You’re a cheeky one, aren’t you? I bet that you could show me a good time!”
“I probably could,” Anna agreed. “Were it not for the fact that you are so drunk that Mata Hari couldn’t show you a good time.”
“What?!” The veins on the idiot’s neck bulged.
“You stink of booze and rancid sweat,” Anna said bluntly. “You obviously haven’t shaved for at least two days and probably haven’t washed in longer. You’re a slimy, sleazy excuse for a male and you’ve drunk so much you couldn’t make it if you tried.”
“Bitch!” He lunged at her. “Just you wait! I’ll show you who-” He broke off as Anna kneed him in the groin and then balled up her fist and punched him under the chin. The blow didn’t quite knock him out but he did collapse to the ground. She turned to look at his cronies, but, not unexpectedly, they were running away. She kicked the fallen guy in the ribs a couple of times for good measure and then headed back up the towpath towards the streets.
* * *
Ragnar watched Anna’s performance with mild amusement. Clever girl, picking a fight that she knew she could win to ameliorate her bad mood and such a deserving target. But what had frustrated her to the point that she needed to seek out a whipping boy? Something he could use perhaps? He would have to look later.
And perhaps he should turn her into a vampire when her usefulness as a mortal was exhausted. She was attractive, clever and unusually fast and graceful – it would be a shame if he had to kill her. He rather suspected she’d make a fantastic vampire. Yes, he would definitely have to consider turning her.
The thought put a spring in his step as he followed her back to her home. Once he was certain that she was safely inside, he turned and headed back into town. His good mood was making him feel magnanimous, and he decided to buy his little Caroline her favourite pepperoni pizza, some garlic bread and a bottle of wine to cheer her up. He might even get her some chocolates as well, if anywhere that sold them was still open. It should make her happy, since she’d know that he wouldn’t be feeding off her until the garlic was out of her bloodstream.
* * *
Leisa and Emma were walking along Haventon High Street when she spotted Ragnar coming out of a small Pizzeria laden down with boxes. Leisa reacted quickly and pulled David’s sister into a dark shop doorway.
“What’s wrong?” Emma asked.
Leisa just shushed her and watched with narrowed eyes as Ragnar walked past their hiding place. It had been three centuries since her path last crossed his and she doubted he had become any less evil with the passing of time. Only once he was out of sight did she step back on to the pavement and glare after him.
“Who was that?” Emma asked.
“An old enemy,” she said levelly. “He didn’t see us though.” A hint of satisfaction crept into her tone. “And he doesn’t know I’m in Haventon.”
“How do you know?”
“Because if he had seen me he, wouldn’t have been moving so slowly.” She gave a smirk. “And if he knew I was in Haventon, he wouldn’t be. Ragnar avoids me like some sort of plague. Since I fully intend to destroy him, if I can, that’s probably wise of him.” She gave Emma a serious look. “And you had better avoid him. He has a habit of killing vampires who don’t kill their prey. He thinks leaving them alive is dangerous.”
“That’s… creepy,” Emma said.
“Indeed,” Leisa agreed. “But at least I have an advantage this time, if I can figure out how to use it. I think I need some advice.” She gave the girl a speculative look. “I’m going to catch a taxi out to a friend’s place. You might like to meet him, so you can come along as well if you’d like.”
“Friend?” Emma asked. “Another vampire?”
“Yes, another vampire.”
Emma looked thoughtful for a moment then nodded. “Well, if you really don’t mind.”
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