Chapter Two Part One
David sat up abruptly, then sank back to his pillows with a relieved groan. It had been all dream, hadn’t it? He examined his wrists, then dragged himself in the bathroom mirror and checked his neck. Of course, there were no bite marks. If she’d somehow got into to his home, he wouldnâ€™t just be tired and gritty headed. Heâ€™d be dead or worse – probably worse.
Still, dreaming about her rather than his father seemed wrong. She must be messing with him. Something he’d put a stop to today.
After breakfast, he went through his bag to make sure he was ready this time. He pocketed his crucifix for easy access and coated the stakes with a thin layer of garlic oil. Another crucifix on a chain and two solid silver thick wrist guards would keep her fangs at bay.
Physical preparations complete he sat down to go through the special mediations, which the Order swore helped resist mind control. Hopefully they worked; heâ€™d never had to rely on them before. His preparation would be useless if she could force him to disarm himself.
â€œStop being so negative!â€ he muttered to himself before going on with the exercises.
When he reopened his eyes, having completed the last one, he realized his telephone was ringing. He got up and answered it with a resigned sigh.
â€œDavid! Thank goodness youâ€™re in.â€ It was Tanya, his immediate superior in the Order. She was also his cousin â€“ a breach of protocol he still didn’t understand.
â€œHey, Tan,â€ he said. â€œIs this a personal call? I was about to go out on business…â€ he trailed off knowing sheâ€™d catch his meaning
â€œI wonâ€™t keep you then,â€ she promised. â€œThis is important. But first, Iâ€™m sorry about your father. Uncle Mark was always good to me. I was shocked when Sarah called.â€
David had to swallow a couple of times before he could respond. â€œT-thanks.â€ He gasped back a sob. â€œI never knew he had allergies.â€
â€œSometimes, they just happen.â€ She waited while he composed himself. â€œI wouldnâ€™t have called, but like I said itâ€™s important. Thereâ€™s this girl, a couple of years younger than you; Sheâ€™s very new and did something dumb – went after a night shift worker, thinking that he was trouble.â€
â€œOh, oh dear.â€
â€œShe got away with it thankfully. It’s a miracle he didn’t call the police.â€
â€œHe didn’t?â€ David’s stomach churned unexpectedly. â€œThat’s odd. I mean-â€
â€œIt is, isn’t it?â€ Tanya sounded troubled. â€œBut we don’t need the police involved and he’s definitely not a vampire.â€
â€œDon’t worry, Dave. This line’s secure,â€ she said. â€œBut would you keep an eye on her? We’ve put her back on probation, and I’m too busy to check her every suspect. She lives fairly close to you, and all you’d have to do is make sure she doesnâ€™t make any more mistakes.â€
He hesitated. He really didn’t need this but couldn’t really refuse. â€œSure,â€ he said, finally. â€œBut, I canâ€™t start today. I have to attend to that business I mentioned and visit mum.â€
â€œOf course,â€ she said sympathetically. â€œTomorrow will do. Let’s meet in the park, normal place at noon. Iâ€™ll introduce you.â€
â€œOkay, will do.â€
â€œGood hunting, David.â€ She rang off.
David replaced the receiver with another sigh. â€œIt never rains but what it pours,â€ he muttered and went to collect his bag. It was time to finish what heâ€™d started.
Anna ground her teeth and resisted storming into the room beyond the heavy oak door she was listening at only with effort. Blowing up wouldnâ€™t help her case – she was in enough trouble as it was. But to hear Tanya placing her under the authority of some guy not much older than her was intolerable.
She still did not understand how had she got it so wrong. All the evidence had pointed to him being a vampire, and sheâ€™d fled as soon as she’d realised he was human. Sheâ€™d taken her notes to Tanya for help, because something was very wrong, but instead of helping her work out what it was, sheâ€™d dragged her on the carpet.
Anna shook her head and listened again. She shouldn’t be listening, but the small, windowless room was claustrophobic, and it distracted her. Anyway, Tanya was discussing her with another woman from the Inner Council, and she had the right to know what they were saying.
â€œYouâ€™re putting too much trust in her ability to learn,â€ the woman said. â€œSheâ€™s dangerous and should be eliminated.â€
â€œFor Godâ€™s sake, Rhianne, sheâ€™s a human being not a monster! She just made a mistake.â€ The initial burst of anger drained from Tanyaâ€™s voice to be replaced by a kind, weary contempt. â€œOf course, werewolf hunters think youâ€™re immune to mistakes, donâ€™t you?â€
â€œOh, spare me!â€ Rhianne snarled. â€œSave it for Meredith. Sheâ€™s stupid too! All werewolves are evil, just like vampires.â€
â€œMeredith’s just trying to make sure we donâ€™t turn off our brains. Mindless fanaticism is no virtue. But, that’s not my point. Silver allergy isnâ€™t limited to werewolves.â€
â€œWerewolves are evil!â€ Rhianneâ€™s voice rose an octave and cracked. â€œLook what they did to Jon!â€ There was a pause punctuated by gasping sobs. â€œAnd that girl is dangerous too. We should have executed her.â€
â€œStill not my point, Rhi,â€ Tanya said wearily. â€œAnd the rest of the Council doesnâ€™t agree with you about Anna, at least. Anyway, we need all the hunters we can get in Haventon. You know that.â€
â€œYouâ€™re all stupid! When she screws up again, sheâ€™s dead, no matter what the rest of you say!â€
Anna dashed back to the red leather chair as she heard someone heading for the door. If Rhianne wanted to kill her so badly, sheâ€™d probably use eavesdropping as an excuse. It was all so unfair! She took a deep breath and forced her rising anger down and not a moment too soon. The door crashed open and Rhianne burst into the room. She glared at Anna as she stormed to the exit but didnâ€™t stop.
Tanya followed her colleague in more sedately and gave Anna a penetrating look. But, if she knew Anna had been listening, she gave no other sign.
â€œWeâ€™ve come to a decision.â€ Tanya leaned against the oak panelled wall. â€œWeâ€™re going to ask another, more experienced, hunter to vet your investigations for a while. You’re not to undertake any hunts until heâ€™s cleared them.â€
â€œI see.â€ Anna wasnâ€™t sure how she would have reacted if she hadnâ€™t been listening. So, she went with confused. â€œW-will he help me figure out how I messed up so badly?â€
Tanya gave her a warm smile. â€œIâ€™m sure he will if you ask.â€
â€œThatâ€™s something at least!â€
â€œYes,â€ Tanya agreed as she pulled a black hood from a pocket. â€œI’m afraid you have to put this thing on again. No one outside the Inner Council can know where we meet.â€
Something about Tanyaâ€™s calmness grated on Annaâ€™s nerves, and she fought down an unexpected urge to strangle her superior as she secured the hood over her own head. It wouldn’t help, and Tanya didnâ€™t really deserve it – security was important, after all. Why was her temper so short recently? What if Rhianne was right and she was dangerous?
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