January 10th, 2012 | Published in Haventon Chronicles
Author’s note: My beta reader has got chapter 6 back to me and I’ll put it up this weekend. She’s still working on chapter 7, so these are still going up raw for now. Sorry folks.
Chapter Seven Part One
“You sounded really worried on the phone,” Tanya said when she answer the door.
“I was, I am,” he agreed. “But I don’t think we should discuss this on the doorstep.”
“Of course not. Come in.” She stood aside to let him in.
“You shouldn’t do that, Tan,” he said as she led him into the lounge. Then added. “You have a nice place here.”
“Dad bought it for me,” she said. “And I know you aren’t a vampire, Dave. Now let me get you a cup of tea and you can tell me what’s got you so stressed.”
“I hit a target today, a young vampire I’d been watching for a while,” he began after she brought him the tea. “There was something bloody weird going on – he was paralysed.”
“Paralysed, hmm?” she said. “How interesting – I saw something similar a few weeks back. But this isn’t what’s got you worried is it?”
“No, I… well I broke the rules. The vampire spoke to me telepathically.”
“And you replied.” Her tone was mild. “You’re upset because you spoke to him? Everybody does it at least once, and the situation certainly warranted investigation.”
“No, I am upset because he said something strange when I did. He said he was sure my branch of the Order wasn’t supposed to talk to its quarry either. I was leaving when it registered what he’d said. I had a good look around and found this.” He passed her the bag he had found. Tanya looked through the contents and gave a low whistle.
“Well…” she said after a moment. “That’s interesting. It’s always been theoretically possible since we don’t double test, of course.” She rubbed the bridge of her nose. “I’d better tell Meredith about this, and probably Liam. I think I’ll leave the rest of the council out of the loop for now. They’d panic and panic is the last thing we need.”
“Tan, we’ve been compromised! Don’t you think panic is in order?” he asked.
She gave him an amused look. “No, I really don’t. Panic never helps. It makes people act irrationally and in a dangerous situation that just makes things worse. Meredith and I will come up with some way to deal with this without telling the zealots about it.”
“Who’s Meredith,” he asked.
“She is the only non-zealot werewolf hunter on the council. The only one who doesn’t consider me dangerously subversive. Your target would have been under her authority.”
“Ah,” he said. “Why do they think you’re subversive?”
“Because I don’t agree with the stance on werewolves and I don’t mince my words about it. So I tell them they shouldn’t kill all werewolves just for being werewolves. The trouble is that while Meredith listens to me and concedes that I have some points she says the same thing about vampires.”
“She does?” he asked. “Why? I mean werewolves are alive with all that entails. Vampires aren’t and they aren’t dead enough either. It’s just not natural for a dead person to get up and walk around, and that’s without getting into the whole blood drinking bit.”
“That’s almost exactly what I said. Meredith asked me since when turning into a wolf had been considered natural.” Tanya chuckled. “She does have a point. Do I take it you agree with me on werewolves then?”
“Oh, yes. I don’t think I could kill a living person.”
“I could, if they were a monster and I was sure that it was the only way to stop them. But I think it is why werewolf hunters are likely to suggest removing a human threat permanently. They kill people all the time.”
“And they never make mistakes,” David said.
“That we know of. In theory they could accidentally kill a human but it’s really unlikely – though I’ll admit to playing up the risk when I am arguing for more care.” She paused thoughtfully. “Of course the problem with our position on werewolves is if we insist the Order is wrong about all werewolves being evil how can we be sure it’s right about vampires?” She sipped her own tea and looked at him. “I once pointed out the distinct lack of mauled or half eaten corpses found after each full moon.”
“That’s a good point,” he said. “In fact I’ve never heard anything about such things.”
“A few are covered up,” she said. “But they aren’t common. And it is, but then Meredith pointed out that there just weren’t enough exsanguinated corpses or even missing persons to allow for all vampires to be killing their prey either, no matter how slowly. Especially not given how they tend to form clusters like here, and once you consider how many missing people aren’t dead.”
David thought about it and had to swallow back bile. “She is right, I think.” He managed somehow to keep his voice level with effort. “How do you account for it?”
“It’s a puzzle isn’t it, unless they are farming people, and I don’t think they could hide anything on that scale. Rhiane suggested some totally stupid theory about illegal immigrants, but that’s a non-starter. The problem is that it’s all leading to one inevitable conclusion, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, that some vampires aren’t killing their prey,” David said miserably. “But if that’s true then is what we’re doing is right?”
“It’s a moral quandary, isn’t it? Most of the Council say it’s the mere fact of being a vampire that makes a vampire evil.” Tanya looked at David over the rim of her cup. “What do you think?”
“Why are you asking me?” he asked defensively. Did she suspect he was having doubts? Was she trying to make him discuss them? He couldn’t imagine her trying to trap him.”
“Because I want to discuss it with someone who won’t just tell me to shut up and give me a lecture, well someone who isn’t Meredith that is.” She obviously noticed his expression and read it correctly. “I am serious, Dave. I have no reason to try and trap you. There has to be room for debate or… or… we’ll end up being the Spanish Inquisition.”
“Do the rest of the Council agree with you?” he asked mildly. She just shrugged. “Okay, yes I’ve been having doubts. I am trying to get rid of them, because I don’t want… I mean if vampires aren’t evil then I am a murderer and I tried to kill to my own sister…”
“I wouldn’t be quite that intense about it… the sort of vampires we find tend to be the bad ones anyway, and when we find Marie we’ll just be doubly sure of our ground.” She smiled at him. “When are you meeting Anna again?”
“Tomorrow Lunch.” He paused and scowled. “And Tan there’s something really odd about her. Do you remember how Sarah used to have terrible mood swings at her age? She is like that.”
“Well Sarah reacted very badly to Martin’s disappearance and Anna’s not had a particularly good life,” Tanya said a little too quickly. “That might explain it.”
“I guess, but Sal was having mood swings before Martin vanished,” he said dubiously. Then he checked his watch. “Talking of Sarah I am supposed to be having dinner at her place tonight. I’d better get going.”