Anna walked up behind David as he sat on the same bench as yesterday waiting for her. He was drawing again. How typical of the Order to place her in the care of a second-rate artist with no guts. He would probably deny that the other targets in her notes were vampires. If he did she’d just have to keep her temper somehow. She mustn’t jeopardise her revenge by giving him any reason to be any more suspicious of her. Her dreams of the last few nights would not come true if he-
She broke that thought off with a mental oath. What was wrong with her? Those dreams were incredibly disturbing – especially the way she woke with a yearning for them to be true. She scowled unhappily and glanced at the ground, suddenly ashamed. David’s hunting gear sat in a bag under the bench. The sight of it caused her momentary guilt to disappear in a sudden surge of rage.
“Found a vampire of your own?” she snarled. “Or are you stealing one of mine?”
David jumped and turned around. Heâ€™d gone pale. He must not have realised that she was there.
“How long have you been there?” he asked.
“Not long.” She put her hands on her hips. “And you haven’t answered my question.”
“I’ve found one of my own, of course. What sort of a question is that?” He was frowning at her, apparently studying her expression. When she saw him shiver, even though it was a hot day, she wondered what he’d seen in her eyes . He’d looked suspicious yesterday, but it was more noticeable today. He cocked his head at her. “Would it really matter as long as the vampires in question were eradicated? This isn’t a competition, Anna.”
Anna couldn’t suppress the slight tightening of her jaw at his words, and from the way his eyes narrowed, he noticed. She took a breath. “I suppose it isn’t, but you wouldn’t be much good to the Order if you couldn’t hunt a vampire down on your own.”
“I guess that’s true.” His smile looked forced. He was probably thinking she only hunted vampires for fun – which wasn’t a million miles from the truth. It was an outlet she needed. But still, none of this was his fault. With that thought, her guilt returned again and she closed her eyes. She preferred it to the anger; at least it was purely hers-
Wait what? She turned her attention inwards and tried to track down the source of that thought. Her anger wasn’t her own? But whose was it then? If her dream of the last couple of nights was anything to go by, it was a vampire. The thought made her swallow convulsively. If she’d attracted the attention of a vampire, she needed to warn David – even if it probably would get her killed.
“I…” she began but trailed off. Somehow she couldn’t tell him; she wanted to, but something was stopping her. “I…” she said again but once again she couldn’t get the words out. This was not good at all. It just about confirmed that she was right and someone – probably a vampire – was messing with her head. David was looking at her curiously. She wasn’t surprised – her expression must be pained from how she felt.
“You what?” he asked.
“I-I am behaving badly again aren’t I?” She couldn’t tell him but she had to say something to cover her… no to cover â€œthe otherâ€ in her head’s tracks. “I don’t know what’s got into me recently.” She forced a smile. “So what’s the verdict? Are the ones I gave you vampires, or am I as stupid as I sometimes think?”
He gave her a long look. “You’re confusing,” he said finally. “But this one definitely is.” He handed her one of her notebooks. She flipped through and realised it was the most obvious one.
“And the others?” she asked.
“I’ll get back to you on them. Perhaps I am being over cautious, but itâ€™s better that than making another mistake, I think.” He paused. “And I had a look at your notes on the guy you hit by mistake. I see why you thought he was a vampire – there’s definitely something fishy about him. You should have waited a bit longer though before striking. Anyway, I spoke to Tanya about it, because since he is human I think that you may have been having a fight with a serial killer.”
Anna stared at David for a moment. A serial killer? She thumped her forehead with the heel of her hand and swore angrily. “I am stupid! That never even occurred to me.”
“Why would it?” he asked mildly. “It never comes up in training, and we do have a lot of vampires around here for some reason.”
“We do and it doesn’t,” she agreed. “But we live in the real world, David. We know what sort of human sickos are out there if we pay attention. I should have thought of that” She sighed. “No use crying over spilt milk. When will you know about the other two for sure?”
“Hmm… Friday, I think. Meet me here again at One o’clock. I work Fridays, and that’s my lunch break.” He picked up his bag, put his sketchbook in it, and nodded at her. “Good hunting, Anna.”
Anna watched him leave. The dark other inside her head seemed strangely smug at his thought that the human she’d nearly killed was a serial killer, which was a bit odd. Why would he care either way about her mistake or what the Order thought of it?
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